The Canadian Polystyrene Recycling Association (CPRA), located in Mississauga, has suspended its recycling activities. Despite the best efforts of the CPRA Board and its members to continue operations, CPRA has become financially unsustainable. According to the association, the suspension of CPRA’s operations is not a market or material issue. The market for polystyrene and other recycled plastics remains strong and healthy growing at 14 per cent a year, it says. “Indirect pressures” have made the CPRA association business model unviable at this time.
Since commencing operations in 1991, CPRA has invested close to $7 million in recycling equipment. Over that period, CPRA has had to contend with high fixed costs, single material (polystyrene) dependence (other plastics could not be recycled in its facility), as well as blue box volumes that fell short of capacity. Currency fluctuations led to a 30-per-cent-decline in revenues. The association recently invested $300,000 in new state-of-the-art sorting equipment in anticipation of new volumes with Toronto planning to accept polystyrene in its blue box program sometime in 2008. Ultimately, CPRA hopes to sell its equipment to a party that could integrate it into an established plant where polystyrene is part of a more comprehensive recovery program.