Canada's main polystyrene recycling operation has suspended its work due to a revenue crunch.
The Canadian Polystyrene Recycling Association hopes to sell its assets in Mississauga, Ontario, to a company that can integrate them into a more comprehensive plastics recovery program.
``We're looking at the private sector,'' CPRA Chairman Roman Talkowski said by telephone.
In the short term, CPRA might work with brokers who will take recycled material.
``Our challenge has been that we're an industry association,'' Talkowski said in a news release. ``To succeed today, you have to be entrepreneurial and highly adaptive to changing market conditions.''
The rapid rise in value of the Canadian dollar hurt CPRA's revenue stream. As Canada's dollar value increased by some 30 percent vs. the U.S. greenback, CPRA's sales dropped because recycled resins are sold in U.S. dollars.
Also hurting CPRA was less-than-ideal capacity utilization. The association recycled a mix of post-consumer and scrap PS. It had been handling nearly 9 million pounds of PS per year, but was capable of processing 13.2 million pounds annually.
A program to include PS collected in Toronto's Blue Box municipal waste diversion program was due to start in 2008, but CPRA couldn't wait until the much-needed extra supply became available. That chunk of new supply would have amounted to about 3.3 million pounds per year, and it spurred CPRA to get ready for it by spending C$300,000 (US$297,000) on new sorting equipment.
CPRA is asking 17 Blue Box participating municipalities to hold onto their PS scrap until a new recycling initiative can begin.
CPRA's members are resin producers, product manufacturers, distributors and end users. They had invested C$7 million (US$6.93 million) in recycling equipment since the operation started in 1991. They have had to contend with high fixed costs, dependence on a single material and Blue Box-collected volumes that didn't materialize as hoped.
The association has met with its financial advisers to limit members' financial exposure. It has filed a Notice of Intention to File a Proposal and has begun working with others in industry to develop a more market-responsive operation than the association-type model.