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Canadians can recycle more plastic than ever before

New CPIA report monitors changes taking place in Canadian residential recycling programs

Canadians can recycle more plastic than ever before

New numbers for 2015 just released by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) show 96 out of 100 Canadians can recycle all types of transparent and opaque plastic bottles, jugs and jars in their residential recycling programs.

“We’ve just finalized our analysis for 2015 and are excited to report that more Canadians can recycle more plastic bottles, jugs, jars, tubs and lids as well as plastic bags and plastic overwrap than ever before,” says Carol Hochu, CPIA’s President and CEO.

The report, Canadian Residential Plastics Packaging: Recycling Program Access Report, monitors the changes taking place in Canadian residential recycling programs, tracking how they have expanded to collect a broader range of plastic packaging materials over several years. Plastic packaging includes both rigid containers like bottles, jugs and tubs and also pliable materials such as plastic bags and clear overwrap from bulk products. As part of the analysis, the report calculates the growing percentage of Canadians who have access to residential recycling programs that collect various types of plastic packaging and plastic products.

“Plastic definitely plays a central role in recycling programs these days. As more manufacturers turn to plastic packaging, consumers are putting more of these materials into their recycling bins. And recycling program managers continue to add to the list of plastics they accept as markets develop and expand. We’re seeing recycling programs across the country adding plastic tubs and lids, caps, plastic bags, overwrap and foam food and protective packaging to their lists of acceptable materials,” Hochu notes.

The biggest gains in access to broader recycling programs include:

  • The percentage of Canadians who can recycle all types of plastic containers (bottles, jugs, jars, tubs and lids, clamshell boxes, etc.) increased by 6% to 67% in 2015 (up from 61% in 2014 and 53% in 2013).
  • Access to programs that accept plastic bags and overwrap (e.g., the plastic used to wrap paper towels and cases of pop) has increased 10%, to 65% in 2015 (up from 55% in 2014). This is mostly due to the City of Toronto adding plastic bags and overwrap to its program in mid-2015.
  • Access to recycling programs that accept foam food and protective packaging has increased to 44% in 2015 (up from 35% in 2014), largely due to Montreal adding all foam packaging to its collection program.
  • 60% of Canadians now have access to recycling programs that include plastic bottle caps.
  • 71% of Canadians can recycle smaller (<4L) tubs and lids and 63% can recycle larger (>4L) tubs and lids.
  • 99% of Canadians can recycle PET beverage bottles.

“Canadians use products delivered in plastic containers or protected by plastic materials every day and we want those materials to be managed for reuse and recycling in sustainable ways. That’s why CPIA works closely and continuously with municipalities and provincial stewardship agencies that are collecting recyclable plastic materials, and with end markets to expand opportunities to recover more materials and to develop new uses for post-consumer materials,” says Krista Friesen, CPIA’s Vice President of Sustainability.

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