Solid Waste & Recycling

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A Matter Of Access

A new report from CM Consulting shows that a greater number of Canadians has access to recycling household plastic packaging and that a broader range of plastic packaging is being accepted by municipa...


A new report from CM Consulting shows that a greater number of Canadians has access to recycling household plastic packaging and that a broader range of plastic packaging is being accepted by municipalities. Estimates of Levels of Residential Recycling Access for Plastic Packaging in Canada was released by EPIC in April of this year. The study is a follow-up on a similar report commissioned in late 2004.

The biggest changes in the new report, compared to its 2004 predecessor, are the increases in access to recycling of tubs and lids — from 56 to 88 per cent — and a jump from 18 to 86 per cent for other bottles and jugs. Significant improvements were also made in non-beverage PET containers, which increased from 77 to 91 per cent, and in non-beverage HDPE bottles, which went from 79 to 91 per cent.

The report identifies curbside and depot collection programs as being the primary avenues for the collection of plastic packaging. It also makes mention of the fact that although access to municipal plastic film and bag recycling is just over 50 per cent, there are close to 2,000 grocery retail stores across Ontario accept plastic bags for recycling.

The new report also differs from the previous one in that it includes several more types of household plastic packaging, including PET thermoform, HDPE pails over 5L, garden rigid plastic, and more categories of Polystyrene packaging (expanded polystyrene for food, for packaging and crystal Polystyrene). (See article, page 28.)

In almost every case of plastic packaging, there has been a marked increased in the percentage of Canadians who now have access to recycling through their local recycling programs. The main exception to this is the province of Newfoundland, which continues to offer access for only PET beverage bottles and HDPE beverage bottles.

The new report clearly shows that the groundwork to achieve higher diversion rates for plastic packaging has been laid. But there is further work needed to better engage the consumer to participate in these programs.

EPIC will continue to work with Canadian municipalities to help increase the diversion of plastic packaging by enabling them to provide their residents with greater access to recycling and to increase the types of plastic packaging to be recycled in their communities. The new report is available for downloading from the EPIC web site at www.plastics.ca/epic or directly at www.cpia.ca/files/files/Clarissa_EPIC_Access_FINAL_REPORT2_2009.pdf

Cathy Cirko is the vice president of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA). Contact Cathy at ccirko@cpia.ca

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“The groundwork to achieve higher diversion rates for plastic packaging has been laid.”


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