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Thermoformed containers give big boost to Canadian recycling

By: Michael Lauzon

December 18, 2012

TORONTO (Dec. 18, 3:35 p.m. ET) — The addition of thermoformed polystyrene and polyester packaging and molded tubs and lids to some municipal collection programs has boosted Canada’s plastics recycling rate by 24 percent in 2011.

“Next year’s rate [in 2012] will see another boost as Toronto and other centers add thermoformed packaging,” said Cathy Cirko, vice president of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, in a telephone interview.

Non-bottle rigid packaging recycling jumped 70 percent in 2011, CPIA reported Dec. 17. That jump translated to 46.2 million pounds more non-bottle rigids collected than in 2010.

By comparison, bottles recycling grew 19 percent, or 64.5 million pounds, in 2011. Plastic bags and outer wrap recycling nudged up only 1 percent, or 598,000 pounds, last year.

“We are pleased that two thirds of Canadian-sourced recycled plastic was recycled in Canada,” noted CPIA President and CEO Carol Hochu in a news release.

Cirko said significant quantities are exported, including to the United States, and that Canada also imports recycled plastics.

Plastics packaging can find new life in fleece jackets, new bottles, pipe, pallets, crates, decking and other consumer and industrial products.

Expanded polystyrene foam recycling reached 1.65 million pounds in 2011 thanks to new densification equipment that makes EPS more economical to ship. Markets for recycled EPS include fire protection products, crown moldings and decorative frames.

“Simplifying collection practices for the public to recycle all plastic containers is helping grow plastic recycling,” Cirko concluded in a news release.

The figures in the report were generated by Moore Recycling Associates Inc. of Sonoma, Calif.