At the end of January, the Canada Plastics Pact (CPP) was launched with the ambitious goal of addressing plastics packaging waste and pollution with immediate action and by creating a true circular economy for all plastics. The global Plastics Pact, which involves commitments from ten nations, including the U.S. which signed on in 2020, is spearheaded by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation globally and in Canada by host organization The Natural Step Canada, a national charity dedicated to the acceleration of the circular economy.

The Pact in general terms is meant to bring together key players through the entire plastics supply chain to collectively work toward ambitious 2025 goals to effectively tackle the disconnect between the design and production of plastic packaging and goods, and the efficiency of our plastics recycling infrastructure and end markets to keep it from ending up in landfill or the environment. Because plastic packaging accounts for 47 percent of all plastic waste, it is the immediate focus of the CPP’s collective efforts.

What makes this new initiative stand out from what has come before is that the overall end-goal of the Canada Plastics Pact is not just to conduct studies and talk about plans to reduce plastic waste, but to take action as an entire industry to eliminate plastic waste through the development of a true, sustainable circular economy that would recycle all plastics and keep this valuable material in circulation for as long as possible.

The CPP is working toward four clear, actionable targets by 2025:
1.) To define a list of plastic packaging that is to be designated as problematic or unnecessary and take measures to eliminate them;
2.) Support efforts toward 100 percent of plastic packaging being designed to be reusable, recyclable or compostable;
3.) Undertake ambitious actions to ensure that at least 50 percent of plastic packaging is effectively recycled or composted;
4.) Ensure an average of at least 30 percent recycled content across all plastic packaging (by weight).The new Canada Plastics Pact also stands out with respect to the weight of the corporate and plastics industry partners who have signed on.

“Joining together through the CPP is a diverse group of leaders from across Canada’s plastics value chain,” commented David Hughes, CEO, The Natural Step Canada. “While I am impressed by their genuine commitment to achieving a zero plastic waste economy, it is their willingness to break down barriers between each other to scale truly innovative solutions that I find most inspiring.”

In total, more than 40 partners have joined the Canada Plastics Pact, representing diverse parts of the plastics value chain, from leading brands to waste management companies, government institutions and NGOs. Canada Plastics Pact partners range from key industry associations such as the Canadian Beverage Association, Recycling Council of Alberta and the David Suzuki Foundation, to huge retailers including Canadian Tire, Walmart and Loblaws, as well as massive goods and packaging producers like Coca-Cola Canada and Maple Leaf Foods. The pact has also solidified commitment from major waste management and recycling firms such as Emterra Group and Pyrowave, as well as government entities, including Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Cities of Vancouver and Edmonton.

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