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Alberta alliance on plastics aiming to create circular economy and reduce waste

large plastic waste bales tied together in an open space

The new Plastics Alliance of Alberta, a collaboration between government, industry and academia, is meant to help transform and innovate Alberta's plastics sector by creating a plastics circular economy within the province.

The Plastics Alliance of Alberta was created to ensure that Alberta's plastics sector creates plastics that can be reused and recycled, generates no waste or emissions, and restores ecosystems harmed by the manufacturing of hard-to-recycle or single-use products. In turn, this will help create a plastics circular economy within the province. The alliance will be chaired by NAIT Industry Solutions and co-chaired by the Recycling Council of Alberta.

"This alliance brings together government, industry, associations and academia to explore areas that support a circular economy in Alberta and ensures sustainable development for future generations. By fully appreciating each step along the plastics value chain, we have the opportunity to identify actions that will develop an investment climate where economic and social benefits far outweigh any costs," says Deborah Pietrusik, Chair of the Plastic Alliance of Alberta.

Alberta is already well known as one of Canada's largest manufacturing regions for plastics, and presents an opportunity for the province's public and private sector organizations to advocate for innovation in the way plastics are designed, manufactured, and used and re-used in the provincial economy.

"The Plastics Alliance of Alberta is an exciting collaborative initiative that brings together stakeholders who have the technical knowledge and environmental insight to make Alberta a hub for innovative plastics management approaches that can address plastic waste issues while fostering sustainable economic development," explains Christina Seidel, Co-Chair, Plastic Alliance of Alberta and Executive Director, Recycling Council of Alberta.

The group's 20 founding member organizations will collaborate on actions needed to encourage and support a plastics circular economy in Alberta. By working together, Alberta will be the voice for change in how the global community thinks about plastics - not as a harmful waste, but as a reusable and recyclable product for a sustainable future.

According to the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, Alberta's chemistry and plastics industry was valued at $12.1 billion and employed about 58,400 people directly and indirectly in 2019. Canada has a significant opportunity for plastics recycling. A study by Deloitte and Cheminfo Services Inc. found that 3.3 million tonnes of plastic ended up in Canadian landfills in 2016, 12 times the amount of plastic that was recycled. The same report suggested that major changes to recycling in Canada could see 90 per cent of plastics avoid landfills by 2030 through new investments in recycling and changes to government regulation and consumer willpower.

Sandra Marocco, NAIT's VP Industry Partnership and CMO, also commented, "NAIT has always served industry - and Alberta's economy - by working directly with organizations to help them find solutions to the challenges they face. By being part of this alliance of like-minded organizations, together we can create change that will benefit the environment, consumers and Alberta's plastics industry."

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