Plastics Recycling in Canada Increases

Plastics Recycling in Canada Increases

Trade association says postconsumer plastic recycling volumes increased by 24 percent in 2011.

January 16, 2013
Recycling Today Staff

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA), Toronto, has released a report that says the recycling of post-consumer plastic packaging and products increased in 2011 by 24 percent from recycling levels in 2010.

According to the report, conducted by U.S.-based Moore Recycling Associates Inc., the increase is the result of more material collected for recycling, as well as more companies providing recycling statistics. In total, the report notes that more than 268.5 million kilograms (295,000 tons) of post-consumer plastic was collected for recycling in Canada in 2011.

“This everyday packaging serves an essential purpose by preserving product integrity, and once completed the packaging is an excellent resource for new consumer goods,” says Cathy Cirko, vice president of CPIA. She says the recycled packaging is turned into fleece jackets, new plastic bottles, pipes, pallets, crates, decking, picture frames and other lawn and garden products.

Compared with 2010, the recycled plastic quantities reported for 2011 by Moore Recycling Associates Inc. represent an increase of 19 percent for bottles, a 70 percent increase for nonbottle rigid plastics and a 1 percent increase for plastic bags and film.

For 2011, the survey asked for specific information on the recycling of polystyrene foam, derived predominantly from cushion packaging for durable products and some foam food packaging. The expanded use of densification equipment to compress the foam has now enabled efficient transport to meet a growing recycled foam market demand in Canada, the United States and overseas, making it worthwhile to track recycling progress.

The foam packaging is recycled into fire protection products, crown moldings and decorative frames for mirrors, pictures and wall hangings.

“We are pleased that two-thirds of Canadian-sourced recycled plastic was recycled in Canada,” says Carol Hochu, president and CEO of the CPIA. “Our recycling industry remains strong and capable of diverting more plastics from Canadian landfills.”

The nonbottle rigid plastic stream saw a substantial increase of 70 percent in 2011 in part because more municipalities expanded collection to all plastic containers, beyond just PET bottles. “Simplifying collection practices for the public to recycle all plastic containers is helping grow plastic recycling,” says Cirko.

More information on the report can be found at