Plastic products are high-performing, lightweight and low-cost; however, more than 85 per cent of the plastics produced in Canada are used once and then sent to landfills. Globally, 10 million tons of plastic gets dumped into the world’s oceans every year.
That’s why over 70 leading businesses, NGOs and public sector organizations, including brands, retailers, recyclers, resin producers, nonprofits, associations and governments have co-operated to develop the Roadmap to 2025: A shared action plan to build a circular economy for plastics packaging.
Together, the entities account for more than a third of the plastics packaging on the market in Canada.
“By working together we can move faster and have more impact than any one organization could have had acting alone,” said George Roter, managing director of the Canada Plastics Pact, which spearheads the initiative, in a release.
“The Roadmap is designed to comprehensively address this challenge and sets forth both coordinated individual business actions and the system changes that are needed into a single agenda, with ambitious targets for 2025.”
The foundation has been involved with research showing only nine per cent of plastic waste gets recycled, due to the complicated recycling process, poor packaging design, problematic materials and excess packaging. Without action now, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050, the foundation says.
CPP partners’ plan addresses plastic waste
Signatory partners to the Roadmap include Canadian Tire, Coca Cola Canada, Maple Leaf, Keurig Dr. Pepper Canada, Terracycle, Walmart and many others.
The CPP will enable companies across the Canadian plastics industry production and consumer networks to collaborate and innovate. Together, partners will rethink the way they design, use and reuse plastics, committing to helping develop a path toward a circular economy for plastic by 2025.
This collaboration across the entire plastics value chain is unprecedented, CPP says.
The goal of creating a circular economy for plastics is to eliminate unnecessary and single-use plastics and find ways to reuse, recycle and manage plastics to maximize their value, extend their usable life and keep them out of the environment.
The CPP Partners have agreed on four targets to address plastic waste:
– create a list of problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and take measures to eliminate it;
– design 100 per cent of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable;
– recycle or compost 50 per cent of all plastic packaging;
– achieve 30 per cent recycled content across all plastic packaging.
The Roadmap describes how to affect action and achieve a circular economy for plastics packaging through three steps:
– reduce, reuse, collect: eradicate unnecessary and hard-to-recycle plastics; drive innovation for reuse and refill models; prevent waste from being created in the first place; improve collection and recycling systems;
– optimize the recycling system: upgrade packaging design to make it recyclable; invest in new infrastructure; address supply and demand problems to incorporate recycled resins; ensure government policy is well-designed and in place;
– use data to improve the system: create standard definitions and measurement practices; drive investment in real-time data and monitoring.
“Having been a driving force in the creation of Ontario’s Blue Box initiative as well as Canada’s oldest homegrown environmental charity, Pollution Probe has long advocated for the responsible use and disposal of plastics, which are valuable, but which can do tremendous damage to the environment in a linear take-make-waste system,” said Christopher Hilkene, CEO of Pollution Probe in the release.
“We’ve known for a long time that a circular economy for plastics is necessary, and we’re proud to be part of a collaboration driving the broad systems change needed to make it happen. The CPP’s Roadmap is exactly the kind of action plan that we need, with a clear vision and long-term priorities as well as strategies for quick, high-impact change.”
“Creating a future that is free of plastic waste demands collaboration,” added David Hughes, president and CEO of The Natural Step Canada, in the announcement. “We are excited to achieve together more than any one organization can do by acting alone. These are system-wide problems that require system-wide solutions.”
The participants say innovation in technology and business models achieved through creating circular economy for plastics packaging will capture economic value, provide jobs and position Canadian businesses competitively.
The next step for the CPP to achieve its goals is to develop the more detailed plan of action. To be fully transparent and ensure measurable action, a CPP progress report will be made publicly available each year leading up to 2025.
CPP was also part of the launch of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF)’s Coalition of Action on Plastic Waste‘s Golden Design Rules for Plastic Packaging. Its goal is also to reduce plastic waste in oceans and landfills.
About Pollution Probe
Pollution Probe has been at the forefront of the movement to reduce, re-use and recycle since its inception in 1969. As part of the CPP, Pollution Probe is committed to working with other organizations to build a circular economy for plastics.
Pollution Probe is a national, not-for-profit organization aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of Canadians by advancing policy to achieve environmental change.
About the Canada Plastics Pact
Launched in January 2021, the CPP is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Global Plastics Pact network.
It operates as an independent initiative of The Natural Step Canada, which is a national charity designed to foster a strong and inclusive economy that thrives within nature’s limits.