Articles related to plastics and 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 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.
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.
CIAC’s, Executive VP, Isabelle Des Chênes spoke to the benefits of plastic and the need for better waste recovery efforts in a workshop on Ocean Plastics and Marine Litter during the Ocean Partnership Summit held in conjunction with the G7 Environment, Oceans and Energy Ministers’ meetings in Halifax September 19 to 20.
The workshop included a framing panel session and stakeholder dialogue chaired by Professor John Nightingale of Ocean Wise. Joining Ms. Des Chênes were Susan Ruffo of Ocean Conservancy, Lisa Svensson of UN Environment and Rob Kaplan of Circulate Capital.
Panel members spoke of the opportunities for improved, broader cross-sectoral collaboration, both with government and between governments, the importance of engaging communities, incubating and investing in waste and recycling infrastructures in developing nations and much more.
“We believe that plastics are central to our modern and more sustainable future,” said Ms. Des Chênes. “They are an extremely efficient material that helps lower our environmental footprint in almost every part of modern life. At the same time, they unequivocally do not belong in our oceans nor in our natural environment.”
Ms. Des Chênes also noted, “We need to do a better job of recycling and recovering plastics after they are used, and designing plastic applications with recovery in mind, because plastics have a tremendous value that needs to be captured. That’s where the drive towards an increasingly circular economy for plastic packaging can make a difference.”
Following the panel discussion, stakeholders were invited to discuss and vote on key recommendations to share with the G7 Ministers during their deliberations the next day. The recommendations included:
- Developing perspectives, policies and regulations that enable and direct business and industry to move towards circular economy solutions, including alternatives, new polymers, new manufacturing processes and new business perspectives.
- Incubate and invest in waste and recycling infrastructures in developing nations.
- Support increased public understanding and involvement as it relates to plastic disposal.
CIAC member, NOVA Chemicals, has announced a three-year investment of nearly $2 million to support a new global initiative to reduce marine plastic pollution in Southeast Asia called Project STOP.
The initiative’s goal is to design, implement and scale circular economy solutions to marine plastic pollution in countries with high leakage of plastics into oceans. NOVA Chemicals’ investment will support the first city partnership in Muncar, a coastal fishing community located in Banyuwangi, Indonesia. With minimal waste services in place, many citizens are forced to dump their waste directly into the environment.
As a member of Responsible Care®, CIAC’s U.N.-recognized sustainability initiative, NOVA Chemicals has long worked towards safe, responsible and sustainable chemical manufacturing.
“Our investment in Project STOP demonstrates our unwavering commitment to shaping a world that is even better tomorrow than it is today. We understand that part of this commitment to being ‘better tomorrow’ is our commitment to Responsible Care and Sustainability,” said John Thayer, Senior Vice President, Polyethylene Business at NOVA Chemicals.
“NOVA Chemicals has a long history of respecting our employees, communities and the environment. We are a founding member of Responsible Care and are deeply committed to the industry’s ideals of sustainability.”
CIAC is working with its members and partners, like NOVA, to reduce plastic waste and support the circular economy. In June, partnering with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, CIAC and its members committed to set ambitious targets to reuse, recycle or recover 100 per cent of plastics packaging by 2040.
Learn more about CIAC’s commitment to supporting the circular economy
Learn more about Project STOP