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A Roadmap to Support the Circularity and Recycling of Plastics in Canada

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The current quantity of unrecycled plastics creates an ever-growing problem, especially given the continued large growth forecasts for the plastics manufacturing industry.

The sheer volume of plastics produced creates environmental and waste management challenges of growing concern. To address this, national, provincial, and local governments are introducing a diverse range of policies and mandates to regulate plastics, especially single-use plastics and plastic packaging.

This report explores the current landscape and potential for standards to help achieve a circular economy for plastics. Currently, in Canada, only 9% of plastics are recycled at their end-of-life [1]. Approximately 90% of Canadian plastics originate from the oil and gas industry. Nearly all sectors of society currently use plastic and create plastic waste, ranging from residential and work environments, to construction and agriculture. While governments, corporations, and organizations have been making commitments to address the low recycling rates, there are still major challenges and barriers that affect the recyclability of plastics.

The research for this report focused on soliciting input from industry stakeholders and experts, environmental organizations, recycling advocates, governments, and academics on the topics of barriers, challenges, opportunities, and standards-based solutions to Canada’s low plastics recycling rate. All aspects of the plastics value chain were reviewed through a series of interviews, meetings, and research that focused both on the current and future system for recycling plastics in Canada and leading jurisdictions around the world.

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