Articles related to environmental policy

CCME workshop explores Canada-wide action plan on zero plastic waste

On February 19 and 20, CIAC’s Executive Vice President, Isabelle Des Chênes, participated in the Canadian Council of Minister’s of the Environment (CCME) workshop to develop a Canada-wide action plan for zero plastic waste. CIAC members NOVA Chemicals, Dow Canada, Inter Pipeline, Imperial and BASF were also in attendance. The goal of the workshop was to identify and prioritize government and sector actions to support the movement towards zero plastic waste.

Workshop objectives included:

  • develop a common understanding of the CCME Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste and approach
  • discuss potential government and participant actions, priorities, roles and responsibilities
  • receive feedback from participants on their respective sectors’ readiness to achieve zero plastic waste and how governments can support their efforts to innovate and minimize waste.

The workshop brought together over 150 stakeholders from across the plastics value chain as well as collectors, recyclers and civil society. Discussion was focused on the first five key results areas of the CCME Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste: product design, single-use, collection systems, markets and recycling capacity.

Attendees delivered a series of recommendations to CCME including the need to focus on outcomes and performance rather than being prescriptive. There was also broad agreement that governments have a lot of policy and regulatory levers but it is important to leave room for industry to innovate. These recommendations will be reviewed over the coming days and considered in the action plan which will be delivered to CCME in June. Additional stakeholder consultation will take place via webinar in March. CIAC and its members continue to be actively involved.

For more information, please see the CCME Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste and the CIAC report The role of chemistry in a circular economy for plastics.

Tackling climate change needs chemistry, CIAC tells Sixth Estate panel

The chemistry sector is uniquely qualified to help tackle the global issue of climate change, Bob Masterson President and CEO of CIAC, told a panel discussion on climate change In Ottawa January 31.

Pictured: Catherine Clark and CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson

The Climate Change and the Environment panel, organized by the Sixth Estate News online broadcaster, also included leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Sean Fraser; and the vice-president of federal affairs for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Craig Stewart. It was moderated by Catherine Clark.

David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data also provided interesting findings showing that the majority of Canadians think climate change is an important problem and that they didn’t know which political party was best suited to tackle the problem.

“Chemistry is a key driver to sustainability and Canada has a low carbon feedstock making us carbon-advantaged over other jurisdictions that use coal,” said Mr. Masterson. “So how do we make these changes happen faster? Price the things you don’t want – like carbon, GHGs – and reward the things you do want – like jobs and growth.”

Ms. May even jumped in to support Mr. Masterson’s comments on the U.N. Kigali Accord, which came out of the Montreal Protocol in the 1980’s, starting in 2019, new refrigerants from the chemistry sector will avoid 0.5 C of global temperature increases, making them the single largest contributor to addressing climate change to date.

“We can, when we seek to do it, make real change,” Ms. May told the panel. “Like the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer in the late ‘80s, we can take the same approach with climate change. We have to talk about our success stories.”

Other panelists included Dale Marshall, national program manager at Environmental Defence, Rachel Curran, principal at Harper and Associates and Velma McColl, managing principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group, in a segment hosted by Global News Chief Political Correspondent David Akin.

Watch the recording or read a full rundown of the panel discussion.
Read Bob Masterson’s opinion piece Chemistry: Essential to Canada’s Transition to a Low-Carbon Energy Future

Industry, government and consumers all play a key role in the circular economy

CIAC and CPIA sponsor a lively discussion on getting to zero plastic waste

In front of a packed house of approximately 70 people at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa CIAC and CPIA held a lively discussion with the Sixth Estate on Breaking the mold: getting to zero plastic waste on December 11.

CIAC’s Executive Vice President, Isabelle Des Chênes, opened the discussion up by framing the issue and giving a brief presentation on the broad issues at play including the benefits of plastic, Canadians’ perceptions on plastic waste and what industry can do to support solutions. “The public in Canada have been up in arms on this subject and rightly so. As manufacturers of plastic resin and plastics, we need to work with governments to educate the public about plastics’ benefits to society and the environment,” said Des Chênes.

Christopher Hilkene, CEO of Pollution Probe, then spoke about what his organization is doing to raise public awareness of the issue of plastic waste and bringing different stakeholders together to discuss solutions.

The Director of Government Relations at NOVA Chemicals, Ken Faulkner, then outlined the work that manufacturers are doing to tackle this issue, such as innovating to make plastic packaging fully recyclable and working with non-profit partners to improve infrastructure to reduce marine plastic debris in Southeast Asia.

Ryan L’Abbe, Vice President Operations, GreenMantra Technologies, brought the important element of innovation to create end markets for recycled products. He pointed out that due to a lack of supply in Canada, his company actually imports materials from the U.S. to have enough post-consumer plastic to recycle into products like asphalt and roof shingles.

Rounding out the discussion, Sean Fraser, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change then spoke on the Federal government’s recent efforts to create a framework for a national strategy of reducing plastic waste and what needs to happen in the near and long-term future to tackle the issue.

Watch a full recording of the panel discussion on the Sixth Estate Facebook Live page here.

CIAC advocates for a circular economy for plastics to Ontario government ahead of ministers’ meeting

Information sharing and collaboration at Alberta Chemistry Day 2018

Exploring solutions to marine litter at the Great Lakes Plastics Forum

CIAC and the Canadian Plastics Industry Association joined Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Rod Phillips, and several environmental NGOs in a day-long information session in Toronto on October 11 to discuss the improper disposal of plastic waste in the Great Lakes.

Discussions centred on the current state of the Great Lakes regarding plastic waste, possible innovations and solutions to enable the circular economy and the need for sound public policy to support these solutions.

“Plastics are in the medical equipment that has probably at one time saved you or a loved one’s life, they keep food fresher longer allowing us to feed the world in a way that was unthinkable just a few generations ago, and they create the sustainable energy that will power our low carbon future. The materials our members produce, however, do not belong in our waterways or environment,” said Bob Masterson, President and CEO of CIAC in his opening remarks.

“Nearly 80 per cent of post-consumer plastics packaging now ends up in landfills. Our industry sees opportunities to triple mechanical recycling rates and to make chemical recycling more mainstream, noting this will take monumental changes to waste management activities in Canada.”

Participants included Pollution Probe, the Clean Water Foundation, the Council of the Great Lakes Region, bottled water company Ice River, ONRamp University of Toronto Entrepreneurship and the Ontario Government.

See the full agenda here.

Government and industry collaborate to develop a Framework for Zero Plastic Waste

CIAC representatives attended a very successful and collaborative workshop on how to best tackle the issue of plastic waste domestically at the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Deputy Ministers briefing session October 11 in Calgary.  Attendees included a broad cross-section of stakeholders including officials from federal/provincial/territorial governments, downstream recyclers, manufacturers and producers developing solutions through innovation and environmental organizations.

The federal government hopes to finalize a CCME Framework for Zero Plastic Waste at their meeting in Ottawa November 23. In preparation for that meeting, the Alberta Deputy Minister of the Environment hosted their provincial counterparts to finalize the details of the agenda and sought out the briefings from stakeholders like CIAC to help frame the plastics issue.

There were several informative case studies of innovative solutions from industry including from Keurig, Cascades Canada and Enerkem. NOVA Chemicals presented a case study on designing products for greater longevity, reuse and recycling by demonstrating their recyclable all-polyethylene stand-up pouch package. The pouch is compatible with #2 HDPE recycling streams, while meeting customer needs of performance, processability and cost.

“There was excellent representation from across the plastics value chain,” said Isabelle Des Chênes, who participated in a workshop.

“A running theme was that governments can help by addressing conflicting regulation and policy, harmonizing these as much as possible into a sort of national regulatory framework. That regulation should not be prescriptive and should allow room for industry to innovate. All levels of government should be implicated.”

CIAC looks forward to continuing to work with all levels of government as the Framework for Zero Plastic Waste is finalized.