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Containers boosting recycling

By: Michael Lauzon

January 7, 2013

The addition of thermoformed polystyrene and polyester packaging and molded tubs and lids to some municipal collection programs boosted Canada’s plastics recycling rate by 24 percent in 2011.

For 2012, the rate will rise again, “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, bottle 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 in 2011.

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

Cirko said significant quantities are exported, including to the United States, and 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.