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Circular Economy

Paving the Way: Canada Plastics Pact’s Ambitious Journey to a Circular Plastics Economy

Cher Mereweather

Managing Director, Canada Plastics Pact

In the heart of Canada, a transformative shift is taking place — one that aims to redefine our relationship with plastic.

If you’ve recently strolled through a major retailer, amidst a sea of plastic packaging, you may have noticed a glimmer of hope.

Among the shelves, you might find a Dove refillable deodorant stick from Unilever Canada, bakery items secured with compostable bread clips from Bimbo Canada, or reusable checkout bags at retailers like Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Walmart, to name a few.

These seemingly ordinary products from Canada Plastics Pact (CPP) Partners signify a paradigm shift in our relationship with plastic. They showcase influential companies challenging the linear take-make-waste approach by acknowledging the environmental impact of their choices and redesigning plastic packaging for circularity.

This transition to circularity extends far beyond the shelves of retail stores. Behind the scenes, throughout Canada’s plastics industry, a revolution is taking place.

Harnessing collaboration to create impactful change 

With more than three million tonnes of plastic waste ending up in landfills or the environment and the plastic recycling rate in Canada standing at approximately 12 per cent, it’s clear that we still have a significant distance to cover in our journey to close the loop on plastic. 

The CPP exists to eliminate plastic waste by accelerating and scaling the solutions that will keep plastics in the economy and out of people, animals and the environment. Through fostering innovation and collaboration, its 90+ Partners from across the plastics value chain are taking meaningful steps to propel us toward the realization of a circular plastic economy. 

While progress is being made in developing products for reuse, incorporating recycled content, and reducing the use of virgin plastic across the plastics value chain, the magnitude of the plastic waste issue demands even bolder actions to be taken.

Driving industry-wide action

As part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact network, CPP Partners are addressing the challenges posed by plastic waste and pollution by aligning with four targets in the CPP’s Roadmap to 2025, while building a long-term plan for beyond 2025.

Building upon this foundation, the CPP will release a series of guidance documents in 2023, leveraging the collective expertise of the network to facilitate the implementation of circular economy principles. Publications such as the Unnecessary and Problematic Plastics List , the Pathways to Mono-Material Flexible Plastic Packaging Guidance Document, and the Recycled Content Guide , along with newly released CPP research studies like the British Columbia Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Packaging and Paper Products Baseline Report and the Study on Reuse and Refill of Plastic Packaging in Canada, provide valuable insights for reducing plastic waste and advancing the circular transition. These resources play a pivotal role in shaping Canada’s understanding and driving industry-wide action.

Embracing innovation and experimentation

The UN Global Plastics Treaty is proof that the global movement toward circularity requires a collaborative approach, and we must work together to accelerate progress toward a circular future for plastics by embracing innovation and experimentation.

Within the CPP, industry leaders are not mere participants but catalysts for change. They embody the spirit of innovation and take on the responsibility of setting an example for others to follow.

The seeds of change have been sown within the CPP, and it’s now time for them to flourish and inspire a wave of transformative actions across industries and society as a whole.

Together, we’re paving the way for a future where plastics are no longer a burden but a beacon of circular innovation. By challenging the status quo and taking collective responsibility, we can create a resilient, resource-efficient, and environmentally conscious future for Canada.

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