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Climate Action and Circular Economy

Canada Plastics Pact sets 4 Targets to Advancing a Circular Economy for Plastic Packaging

hand picking up water bottle
hand picking up water bottle
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Paul Shorthouse

Managing Director, Circular Economy Leadership Canada and Interim Managing Director, Canada Plastics Pact

It’s without question that plastics have influenced modern society. The ubiquitous material can be found in many goods such as packaging, single-use products, textiles, vehicles, appliances, and electronics. 

Since plastics are lighter, cheaper, and last longer than other materials, their demand and consumption have risen exponentially. That being said, the benefits plastics have played in our lives have come with a price. 

In Canada, only 12 percent of the approximately 3.8 million tonnes of plastics generated annually are collected for recycling. This means a large quantity of plastics is thrown away in landfills or lost to the environment, resulting in complex challenges to curb waste and scale impactful change. 

It has never been more evident that we need a collaborative and goal-oriented approach to ensure plastics are kept in the economy and out of the environment. 

As part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact Network, the Canada Plastics Pact (CPP) has brought together approximately 90 partners across the plastics value chain to advance its Roadmap to 2025

The CPP Partners are aligned with four targets to advance a more circular economy for plastic packaging in Canada:

Target 1: Define a list of plastic packaging that’s to be designated as problematic or unnecessary and take measures to eliminate them by 2025.

Target 2: Support efforts toward 100 percent of plastic packaging being designed to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.

Target 3: Undertake ambitious actions to ensure that at least 50 percent of plastic packaging is effectively recycled or composted by 2025.

Target 4: Ensure an average of at least 30 percent recycled content across all plastic packaging by 2025.

Since the launch of the CPP in early 2021, the collaboration platform has set up the processes and the mechanisms to reach its ambitious goals. 

In early 2022, the CPP began leading the implementation of the Golden Design Rules for Plastics Packaging in Canada, which was developed by the Consumer Goods Forum’s Plastic Waste Coalition of Action. These nine rules provide a clear framework on how companies can produce less plastic packaging and make recycling plastic packaging easier.

The upcoming release of CPP’s 2020 Baseline Report will serve as a benchmark to measure the annual progress of its partners in achieving plastic circularity while identifying the gaps in its knowledge and systems to transform how we use, recycle, and dispose of plastics.

In a race against time to achieve a zero plastic waste future in Canada by 2030, closing the loop on plastics will set a precedent for broader conversations on a thriving circular economy as a solution for wide-scale transformation across all current linear industries and supply chains.

In nature, there’s no waste. Therefore, we can use nature as our model and mentor to design a future for Canada that minimizes inefficiencies and “waste” in all its forms. 

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