More Collaboration Means More Success: The Circular Plastics Taskforce

Keurig Dr Pepper Canada, Danone Canada, Cascades, Dyne-a-pak, Transcontinental, and the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) have partnered together to build a circular economy for plastics in Canada. The Circular Plastics Taskforce (CPT) aims to optimize the recycling of plastics by further aligning plastics recovery and the recycling value chain.

Consumer packaged goods (CPG)—food, beverages, clothes, makeup, and household products—are crucial to our modern way of life. Now, a group of major CPG companies have partnered with packaging producers and industry associations to form an unprecedented initiative in Quebec, Canada. The initiative focuses on optimizing plastic recycling through concrete solutions, as well as improving alignment between plastics recovery and the recycling value chain to broaden the market for recycled resin.

A Phased Approach

Phase I: Value Chain Mapping and Optimization

The first and most extensive phase involves examining different recycling facilities in Quebec. Research during this phase concentrates on analyzing recycling volume, plastic recovery rates, contamination levels and common plastics collected. With a focus on end markets for finished goods and finding what they require to better use recovered plastics, the team will then reverse engineer ways the value chain can increase supply to meet those demands. Next, taskforce leaders will use the findings to understand the circular market’s needs from ends markets to recyclers to materials recovery facilities (MRFs).

Phase 2: Pilot Projects and Testing

By the end of February, the taskforce will conclude the trial solution period, and the managing group will analyze the data and develop a comprehensive report. An example of a solution being brought to trial is robotic arm technology that helps collect small and hard-to-separate plastics such as bottle caps. Other trials intend to do the following:

· Assess the applicability of different visual recognition technologies used in MRFs for the real-time characterization of baled materials;

· Compare advanced intelligence-based detection and classification tools;

· Manually characterize test plastic bales to validate the reliability of reports produced; and

· Perform a multi-criteria comparative analysis of the technologies tested.

Phase 3: Project Replication Outside of Quebec

Following the success of the program in Quebec, CPT hopes to replicate its model across Canada with help from several partners across the country, including CIAC members GreenMantra, Nova Chemicals, Pyrowave, BASF Canada, Winpak, and IPL Plastics.

Surrounded by Government Support

CIAC members, such as Keurig Dr Pepper and Transcontinental, have had a major impact on the success of the action group; their efforts help reach the Government of Quebec’s recent goal of strengthening producer responsibility for recycling management. And that’s not the only government nod CPT has received; Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) signed on to provide financial support and committed $475,000 for the initial phases of the project. Additionally, at the provincial level, the Ministry of Environment and Innovation, and Fight Against Climate Change are two of the entities that have agreed to consult on the project as part of the CPT Advisory Committee.

Successful Sustainable Society

Phase I is near completion, and a finalized summary of findings to inform and steer the second phase are being developed currently. CPT has proven its commitment to a circular economy that keeps resources in use as long as possible, extracting their maximum value and recovering those materials at the end of their life cycle. Plastic producers and brands that you can easily find around your home are stepping up to establish a circular economy in Canada and give the nation the zero-waste future it deserves.

To find out more about the Circular Plastics Taskforce (Groupe d’action plastiques circulaires) please visit their website at: