Industry Press Releases

Recycling of plastic packaging across Canada increases by 9% in a single year

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) released a new report today informing Canadians that their recycling efforts have increased the amount of post-consumer plastic packaging being recycled across Canada. An additional 9% of plastic packaging was recycled in 2013 compared to 2012 as reported by Moore Recycling Associates Inc. This increase is the result of more material collected for recycling as well as more companies providing recycling information. In total, over 311 million kilograms of post-consumer plastic packaging were collected in Canada for recycling.

The results are derived from a voluntary survey of more than 500 companies that handle recycled plastics in North America. These companies are made up of reclaimers, exporters, brokers, material recovery facilities (MRFs) and other handlers of used plastics.

"We are proud to report that over 80% of the plastic material reported was reclaimed in Canada or the USA. This amounts to more than 240 million kilograms. It is evident the plastics recycling industry in North America is an important element in the circular economy." says Carol Hochu, President and CEO of the CPIA. This year's data, along with that of previous years, consistently indicates that material collected in Canada routinely remains in North America rather than moving to overseas markets.

Plastic packaging collected for recycling includes plastic bottles, non-bottle rigid plastics (such as deli and dairy containers, bakery, vegetable, fruit containers), and plastic film, bags and outer wrap. These valuable resources are reused to make, for example, fleece jackets, new plastic bottles, pipe, pallets, crates and buckets, decking, and other lawn and garden products.

The reported quantities of plastic recycled in 2013, compared to 2012, represent an increase of 13 million kilograms for bottles and an increase of 10 million kilograms for plastic film, such as bags and outer wrap. Of particular note, there was a 23% increase in plastic film and bags recycling attributed to both an increase in collection and strengthened participation in the survey.

Canadian plastics recyclers want more supply; they have underutilized capacity creating ample opportunity for consumers and businesses to supply our recyclers with more plastics. It is estimated that the film and bag recycling capacity in Canada is at a 44% utilization rate and non-bottle rigid recycling capacity is at a 72% utilization rate.

"Given the extensive recycling infrastructure, the impact of China's Green Fence on Canadian businesses was minimized. CPIA's efforts and this new report show that the Canadian plastics recycling industry is strong and growing. Consumers, communities and businesses are encouraged to continue to grow their plastics recycling programs. Used plastics are valuable resources to be re-manufactured into new products," says Krista Friesen, VP Sustainability, CPIA.

For more information and resources on increasing plastics recycling, please visit:

Click here for the 2013 Postconsumer Plastics Recycling in Canada – April 2015 report.

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.

Darlene Gray
Canadian Plastics Industry Association
905-678-7748 ext. 239

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