Canadian plastic makers set target for plastic-free landfills

Posted Jun 5, 2018 by Karen Graham
Canada's plastics makers have set their own targets for keeping all plastic out of Canadian landfills by 2030. The announcement comes just days before the federal government asks other G7 member states to push for international zero-plastics-waste.
Low rates of rubbish collection in many parts of Asia is one of the main reasons why so much plastic...
Low rates of rubbish collection in many parts of Asia is one of the main reasons why so much plastic waste ends up in the sea
Noel CELIS, AFP/File
It is appropriate that the announcement by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) came out on Monday, one day ahead of World Environment Day., and just a few days before Canada hosts the G7 meeting.
Plastic pollution has taken over the planet, and the plastic and chemical industry can play a significant role in designing materials and applications for greater recovery, reuse, and recyclability of plastic products.
"But addressing the issue of plastic waste will require actions from society as a whole and from all of us as individuals,” Bob Masterson, president, and CEO of CIAC says.
Recycling Today reports that Carol Hochu, president, and CEO of CPIA says, “Plastics innovations are essential to increase living standards and improve overall sustainability via new products that design out waste, reduce food waste, support resource efficiency, conserve water and natural resources and reduce emissions. But it is a waste of precious resources for plastics to be used once and then landfilled.”
An employee is seen working at a plastics factory in Valenzuela City  north of Manila  on June 7  20...
An employee is seen working at a plastics factory in Valenzuela City, north of Manila, on June 7, 2013
Noel Celis, AFP/File
Two goals to be met
Representing the plastics value chain including resin and raw material suppliers, processors/converters, equipment suppliers, recyclers and brand owners, as well as leaders in the chemistry sector, the CPIA and CIAC and their members announced the following waste reduction targets:
1. A new aspirational goal of 100 percent of plastics packaging being reused, recycled or recovered by 2040.
2. An aggressive interim goal of 100 percent of plastics packaging being recyclable or recoverable by 2030.
These targets put Canada's plastics industry in line with PlasticsEurope and the American Chemistry Council, who recently announced similar ambitions.
Ashley Wallis, plastics program manager for Environmental Defence said Canada will use its G7 presidency to push an international zero-plastics-waste charter. But it is also expected to commit to a national plastics strategy. "While there's no doubt we need co-ordinated international efforts to eliminate the flow of plastics into our ocean, we need to make sure we do our part at home," she added.
According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, less than 11 percent of plastics are currently recycled in Canada. This is only slightly better than the international average of nine percent. And the biggest culprit is single-use plastics. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says plastic waste Canadians discard each year is worth over $100 million each year that just ends up in the garbage dump, according to CTV News Canada.
World Environment Day statement
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued the following statement on World Environment Day:
"Today, on World Environment Day, we join the international community to celebrate the natural world around us and reflect on our shared responsibility to safeguard the environment for generations to come. The theme for this year's World Environment Day – Beat Plastic Pollution – calls on all of us to make changes in our lives that help eliminate plastic waste and pollution, and protect our planet."
"Today, we announced the appointment of Patricia Fuller as Canada's new Ambassador for Climate Change to help advance Canada's clean growth and climate change priorities on the world stage. Later this week at the G7 Summit, we will bring world leaders together to discuss how we can reduce plastic pollution, tackle climate change, and improve the health of the world's oceans."
While some people may think any goals to reduce or eliminate plastics from our environment are "overly ambitious," if governments at all levels provide enabling policies and funding supports, then new technologies and more innovative products can make a difference.