Some 70 organizations have signed onto a pact that offers a new roadmap towards plastic reduction and the creation of a circular economy in Canada by 2035.
Orchestrated through the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact Network, and under an independent initiative of The Natural Step Canada, the roadmap notes that just 12% of plastic packaging is estimated to have been recycled in 2019.
“Plastic is not waste,” announced Paulina Leung, chief sustainability officer at Emterra Group, a waste management company that signed onto the pact. “It is about time we recognized its value. Canadian companies have the ability and resources to change the way plastic is created and used, and this is our starting point.”
Plastics are high performing, lightweight and low cost, acknowledges the Canada Plastics Pact (CPP) that the groups have signed onto. From the grocery store to the office to the hospital emergency ward – from juice containers to N95 masks – plastic products and plastic packaging enable and enrich modern day living.
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“But we also pay a price for these benefits,” states the CPP roadmap.
Others that have signed onto the pact include the City of Toronto, the Recycling Council of British Columbia, Canadian Tire Corporation, the Canadian Bottled Water Association, and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association.
Prior to the overall goal of a circular economy, where there is a system of closed loops in which raw materials, components and products lose their value as little as possible, the roadmap also sets out a number of targets for 2025.
The businesses, city governments, non-governmental organizations and other key actors in the local plastics value chain are looking to, first, define a list of plastic packaging to be designated as “problematic” or “unnecessary” and take measures to eliminate them.
Then, the focus would shift towards ensuring that all plastic packaging is designed to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
Lastly, the plan aims to have 50% of that plastic packaging be recycled or composted, with a minimum of 30% recycled content across all plastic packaging.
The CPP will report progress toward these targets publicly each year.
“Creating a future that is free of plastic waste demands collaboration, and the multi-stakeholder effort that went into developing the CPP roadmap gives me confidence that we can now make the essential steps to catalyze and create a circular economy for plastics,” announced David Hughes, president and CEO of The Natural Step Canada, in a statement.
The roadmap states that other work needs to be done too. It wants to use data to improve the whole system, creating standard definitions and measurement practices, while working with municipalities to standardize a waste and recycling composition audit methodology.