Recycling Plastics for Industrial, Commercial & Institutional (IC&I)
Most of us know how important it is to recover natural resources used to make packaging and products from products we recycle at home. But it's just as important to recycle used plastics from business places, like manufacturing plants, offices, schools, daycares and hospitals so we can send less waste to landfill.
In Canada, about 32% of all solid waste (including plastic packaging) is recycled and that is largely from residential sources. It’s estimated that more than 15 million tonnes of waste are disposed by IC&I operations every year and most of this goes to landfill rather than recycling.
That’s a huge loss because all of those resources are wasted and not reused, which means it takes more energy to produce an equal amount of material from scratch. That and disposal consumes valuable landfill space.
Seeking new solutions with IC&I partners
For many years we’ve worked closely with the IC&I sectors to develop new solutions that make it practical and efficient to reclaim these materials for recycling and prevent many excellent sources of plastics from being lost to landfill.
Setting up recycling programs
If you represent a business, institution or organization that wants to set up a waste reduction and recycling program, we encourage you to contact your waste management service provider first to find out what recycling options are available to you and to establish what local, provincial and/or federal obligations may be in place.
We always welcome your questions regarding plastic recycling options that may be available. Please send us your comments or questions.
Recycled plastic is used to manufacture new products like fleece clothing, picture frames, outdoor furniture, drainage pipes, office supplies, new packaging and plastic that’s used in boardwalks, decking and railings are just some of the options.
We encourage programs that can, to recycle all plastic bottles and containers. Some program may have limitations due location and access to plastic markets, MRF sort capabilities which affects the ability to meet end market requirements.
5 steps to consider collecting more plastics:
- Talk to your collector, MRF operator and end markets first – is this viable for your operation and how can it work best?
- Prepare your budget – find out costs and all financial implications of various scenarios
- Work with municipal staff, council and residents to determine your next steps and how best to proceed
- Develop a strategy to make it just as easy for your co-workers to recycle plastics as it is to throw them in the garbage. Here are some great ideas to get you started: recyclingatwork.org
- Promote your program! Your co-workers will need to know what they can recycle and how you want them to do it. Talk to your collector about promotion materials they already have available (signs etc.), then use everything you can - email, intranet, meetings and more to let people know that you want everybody to take part in your company's recycling program.
Information for Your Workplace
Here’s a summary of some of the sectors we’ve been working with and what we’ve been doing.
Film from agricultural hay bale wrap and over-wintering greenhouse plastic film are recycled into products like composite plastic lumber and railroad ties. Read more…
Plastic stretch wrap, haybale wrap, silage bags and cover sheets for bunker silos are large-volume plastic wrap materials that are most commonly recycled from agricultural businesses. It’s generally preferred that the plastics be as dry and as clean as possible (keeping contamination to less than 5%).
Agricultural plastics include containers – for livestock medications, pesticides and fertilizers and for many of these materials, recycling opportunities will be mandated by government agencies that manage their contents.
Sources: CLEANFarms guide
The automotive industry is increasingly replacing metal parts with plastics in cars where possible as a means of reducing weight and fuel requirements, preventing rust and stretching vehicle lifespans. CPIA is eager to assist in recovering plastic parts and automotive plastic scrap for recycling. Read more...
Industry Canada suggests that about 14% of Canadian plastic products are found in automotive parts where they’re prized as lightweight, durable, corrosive resistant components in today’s automobiles and public transportation carriers. This is a valuable market for recycled plastics that may now be found in anything from bumpers and fenders to doors, grilles, wheel covers and more. While the use of plastics in auto parts has been growing, recycling the more than 30 types of plastics from end-of-life vehicles remains a challenge. To find out more about automotive and transportation sector recycling, visit: “”. Automotive Plastics
Distributors, manufacturers, warehouses and retailers use stretch wrap to bundle and transfer products from one facility to another. This material is recyclable and has a very high market demand. Read more…
Distributors, manufacturers, warehouses and retailers use stretch wrap to bundle and transfer products from one facility to another. This material is recyclable and has a very high market demand.
Construction & Demolition
Plastic products are valued in construction projects as lightweight but tough and durable parts that contribute to sustainable construction. CPIA has worked closely with the vinyl industry to pioneer collection and reprocessing from demolition and new construction projects. Read more…
A diverse range of vinyl construction products, such as municipal sewer pipe, underground ducts, electrical conduits and electrical and sewer fittings, are made from recycled post-industrial vinyl, significantly reducing the need for virgin raw materials. CPIA pioneered the collection and reprocessing of vinyl siding from residential demolition and new construction and has presented resources for other companies to build on these practices. We continue to encourage expanding markets for recycled plastics in materials used throughout the construction industry.
Hospitals & Medical Facilities
Using plastic items – foam cups, plastic utensils, plastic wrap and many other items are vital to promoting hygiene and managing costs in hospitals and medical facilities. Much of this material is recyclable and CPIA promotes its recovery to the greatest extent possible. Read more…
For hospitals and medical facilities, patient care is at the forefront of decision-making and using plastic materials is a significant contributor to maintaining sterility and hygiene. It’s also important to note medical waste management must be conducted with utmost care and consideration of hazardous materials. Despite that, there are opportunities to recycle plastics, particularly containers and plastics that are commonly recycled at home.
Recovering medical plastics for recycling is a new and well worth discussing with your medical waste service provider, taking into account how much material is generated, storage options, financial considerations and more. Click here for more information:
Plastic boat wrap (the plastic “shrink wrap” that protect boats when not in use) is recycled primarily into plastic lumber and plastic railroad ties. Read more…
Plastic boat wrap used to protect boats when not in use is highly recyclable. A clean and plentiful source of plastic film, when recycled it is converted into materials like plastic lumber and railroad ties. Some municipal programs welcome this material from local marinas and waste management contractors may also bale and collect plastic boat wrap from clients.
While recycling has been somewhat challenging, CPIA has been at the forefront of seeking new solutions to keeping these materials out of landfill and new opportunities are coming onstream.
CPIA works with special event partners to support efforts to recover plastic packaging for recycling at special public events such as road races and special events. Read more…
- Base Borden Vinyl Recycling Project (2006)
- Best Practices Guide for the Recovery of Vinyl Siding
- Energy-Saving Home Improvement Ideas to Lighten Your Environmental Footprint
- Overview of Vinyl Pilot Construction Projects
- Plastics: Building Better - Contributing to a Sustainable Future
- Plastics: Sustainable to the Core - Diagram
- Results of Camp Borden Demolition Pilot 2004
- Study onVinyl in the Waste Stream