Canadian Plastics Industry Association Newsletter on Environmental & Sustainability Initiatives May 2016
Introducing ‘Canadian Plastics Watch’ Newsletter
The evolution in materials technology continues to propel plastics innovation in ways that touch every aspect of our daily living – electronics, transportation, packaging, aerospace, medicine, building and construction, alternative energy and more. Plastics have transformed our world and in the coming years, we’ll see more unimaginable innovations in new plastics intelligence. The challenge for the plastics industry, and specifically for the Post Use Resource Recovery program at Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA), is to ensure that when they become waste, more plastic packaging and products are managed sustainably so resins are recovered for reuse and regeneration. Through this inaugural newsletter and the quarterly issues to follow, we will offer information and insights into how CPIA and the plastics industry are striving for and supporting social responsibility and sustainability. We welcome your comments, suggestions and questions.
Every day, plastic products and packaging make their way into rivers, lakes, marshes and streams, either by accident, dramatic weather events and more carelessly, as litter. Through industry stewardship activities, CPIA seeks to change this so all forms of plastic waste are managed sustainably in Canada’s waste management systems and to minimize the amount of plastic waste lost to marine environments from coast to coast. Programs include better worker training, large and small scale cleanups and phasing out microbeads.
CPIA works in partnership with a number of like-minded organizations to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our waterways.
Preventing marine debris with Operation Clean Sweep
CPIA is the Canadian licensee of the Operation Clean Sweep program that seeks to prevent plastic resins – pellets, flakes and powder – from entering waterways. This industry-led program focuses on preventing releases of plastic production materials to marine environments through proper employee training and policies and procedures to prevent spills and facilitate cleanups at industrial facilities.
Support for phasing out microbeads in personal care products
Many wastewater treatment plants are not able to capture the plastic microbeads used in cosmetics and personal care products simply because the microbeads are so small and rinse off, unimpeded, into wastewater. Since 2015, CPIA has actively engaged with Environment and Climate Change Canada to share information and to contribute to effective regulation to address these issues. View our most recent submission on microbeads.
Managing plastic waste at commercial fisheries
At the end of their useful lives, webbing and nets used in commercial fishing operations contribute substantially to the generation of plastic wastes from these operations. Over the past year, CPIA has supported Scout Environmental in developing a program in the Great Lakes to identify key sources of plastic waste from local fisheries and to establish a recycling program for webs, nets and rigid fish boxes. In 2016, this program will expand to engage and educate employees in additional Lake Erie fisheries on proper waste management and recycling techniques for these materials.
Supporting shoreline litter management initiatives in Canada and worldwide
Ocean currents regularly leave plastic waste littered on shorelines around the globe. In Canada, CPIA supports cleanup activities and education campaigns that are focused on reducing marine litter. Key among these is the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, an initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre that, over 22 years, has removed 1.2 million kg of litter from Canadian waterways. In addition, CPIA has provided support for the Plastics Bank and Plastics for Change – two Canadian organizations that seek to increase the recycling capacity of developing nations and build awareness around the social and economic value of recycled plastics in waterways and on land.
As part of our commitment to working with the province on solutions for plastics recycling and waste diversion that are efficient and sustainable, that provide a high level of environmental protection, and that create economic opportunities in Ontario, CPIA has been actively involved in the consultation on the Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016 (Bill 151). In addition to submitting a written response to the EBR, CPIA also presented at the Standing Committee on Social Policy on April 18, 2016.
Representing the plastic industry sector, CPIA has participated in the consultations on Bill 151. CPIA provided information through written comments and a verbal presentation that touched on eight key items:
The full CPIA submission can be viewed on our website at www.plastics.ca/PlasticTopics/RecyclingPlastics/RecyclingResources. As in other jurisdictions across Canada, CPIA is eager to work with the Ontario government to promote sustainable solutions that increase resource productivity and enable efficient waste diversion systems for plastic packaging.
The Bill concluded second reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy on April 6. For more information: view Waste Free Ontario Act.
Ground-breaking recycling technology is often inspired by the need to find ways to process emerging types of packaging. Optical sorters, for example, have aided in the expansion of the range of resource materials collected for recycling. The next big invention could be underway in the United Kingdom where new technology may revolutionize the way plastics, such as polypropylene (PP) packaging, high density polyethylene (HDPE) milk bottles and sleeved polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are sorted, tagged and recycled.
According to an article posted on edie.net, the system “will allow different coloured plastics and shrink-sleeves that often consist of different underlying plastics, to be separated at the recycling stage.”
Called the “Plastic Packaging Recycling using Intelligent Separation technologies for Materials (PRISM) project”, it is led by a consortium that includes Nextek, WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme, UK) and Evolve Polymers.
“This could be the equivalent of an invisible barcode for plastics recycling,” Nextek’s managing director Edward Kosior said. “It is a significant step forward in the sub-categorisation of plastics which are sorted automatically at high speed.”
PRISM works by adding a UV light scanner to optical sorting equipment commonly used in MRFs. The UV light is capable of reading a fluorescent label which is added to the plastic package. A pilot program conducted by WRAP demonstrated yields of 97% with 95% purity, according to the edie.com article. Further development of PRISM is being funded by Innovative UK.
WRAP works in partnership with various organizations in the UK to provide practical advice to improve resource efficiency that delivers both economic and environmental benefits.
Earlier this year, CPIA refreshed and relaunched our website at plastics.ca presenting new and updated content in English and French.
For information about plastics from innovation to sustainability, the first place to look is plastics.ca. Newly reorganized and refreshed, the website houses a wide range of information for consumers, business, industry, educators and government. It also provides access to the latest information on plastics recycling programs and tonnages recycled across Canada; executive remarks and presentations; blogs and events. There’s also a full section about environmental sustainability, focusing on waste management, energy impacts and managing land and marine based litter.
We invite you to share your feedback on the new site. Does it present information that’s useful to you? Is there anything missing? Please drop us a line at the CPIA Contact Form.
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