Recycling Product News
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by Keith Barker, Editor, Recycling Product News
The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) is feeling pretty positive about the state of plastics recycling in Canada these days. And with good reason. Two recently released reports show that not only do Canadians have better access to recycling for plastics packaging, our overall recycling rates for plastics are increasing significantly.
In the first report, released in February, and done by CM Consulting, findings show an increasing number of Canadians have access to recycling many different forms of plastic packaging. This includes nearly country-wide access (95+%) to plastic bottle recycling and 91% access to recycling of household tubs and lids (up from 88% in 2009).
The report also highlights access for PET (polyethylene terephthalate) non-bottle rigid packaging (such as trays or bakery clamshells), which can now be recycled by 76% of Canadians (three percentage points more than in 2009). Also notable was the finding that the largest increase in access for a particular material is for foamed polystyrene. Foamed polystyrene for food packaging is now recyclable by 32% of Canadians (an increase of seven percentage points since 2009). Plus, access to recycling for expanded polystyrene protective packaging has more than doubled, increasing from 12% to 31%, in that same time frame.
The second report, released in June by Moore Recycling Associates Inc., surveyed over 500 companies who handle recycled plastics in North America, including reclaimers, exporters, brokers, MRFs and other handlers of used plastics. It confirms that Canadian recycling efforts have increased the amount of post-consumer plastic packaging being recycled across the country, including an additional 15 percent of plastic packaging recycled in 2010 compared to 2009.
CPIA says this increase is the result of more material collected for recycling (including greater access to recycling) as well as more companies providing recycling information. In total, over 217 million kilograms of post-consumer plastic packaging were collected for recycling in Canada, in 2010.
“We are elated that around 70 percent of the plastic packaging collected, was recycled in Canada,” said Carol Hochu, President and CEO of the CPIA. “This amounts to more than 149 million kilograms. We are building a recycling industry in Canada, re-using valuable plastic materials and creating jobs to grow the economy.”
Compared to 2009, the recycled plastic quantities reported for 2010 by Moore and Associates represent an increase of 13 percent for bottles (for a total of 150 million kg), an increase of 6% for non-bottle rigids (for a total of almost 30 million kg) and an increase of 36% for plastic bags and outer wrap (for a total of almost 37 million kg).
Of particular note, the CPIA says, there was over a 50% increase in plastic film and bags collected for recycling from commercial businesses. In addition, of the total film and bags recovered, a third came from consumer curbside recycling programs across Canada.
When it comes to Canadian companies who recycle plastics, there is definitely room for growth, and the biggest issue remains adequate supply. We have underutilized capacity, creating ample opportunity for consumers and businesses to supply our recyclers with more plastics. For instance, CPIA says it is estimated that the film and bag recycling capacity in Canada is at 38% utilization of our capacity, and non-bottle rigid recycling capacity is at a 47% utilization of the capacity.
The Canadian Plastics Industry Association is the national voice of Canada’s plastics industry, representing the interests of processors, material suppliers, equipment manufacturers and brand owners across the country. For more information and resources on increasing plastics recycling, please visit: www.plastics.ca/recycling.
(From: Recycling Product News, July/August, 2012 - Volume 20, Number 5)
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