Canada's plastic packaging recycling rate hit 20 percent in 2022, according to the Canada Plastics Pact's 2022 annual report.
Although that's a significant increase from the 12 percent rate it had in 2019, it is still far from the 2025 target of 50 percent. Extrapolating from the slow progress between 2019-2022, that target is likely to be missed.
Nonetheless, there is "industry momentum towards a circular plastics economy" in Canada, the report argues.
"Despite what may seem like slow progress, each small victory highlighted in the 2022 Annual Report is a stepping stone, building upon our foundational groundwork," said Cher Mereweather, CPP managing director. "The reality is that the plastic waste crisis isn't a challenge the industry can solve within a few years, but the compound effect of our efforts suggests we are gaining momentum.
"Key stakeholders within the plastics value chain are actively engaged and working towards viable solutions. In the years ahead, the CPP will double down on source reduction, design for recyclability, infrastructure investment, and the alignment of good policy with the data to validate progress and impact," she continued.
The 2022 report shares the progress of 90 CPP members toward four 2025 targets. The association said it is preparing to publicly release a document setting out guidance for eliminating unnecessary or problematic packaging this month, contributing to its first target. As for achieving 100 percent reusable, recycable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025, CPP members hit a rate of 43 percent in 2022.
Boosting flexible packaging recycling from the current 4 percent will be important to achieving a target of at least 50 percent, although that will require years of work and sizable investments, according to another CPP report.
Finally, CPP members reported an average amount of post-consumer recycled content by weight across plastic packaging of 12 percent, a bit less than half of the at least 30 percent 2025 target.
CPP has partners throughout the plastics chain including retailers, brand owners, recyclers, plastics converters, resin producers and government officials. CPP is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's Global Plastics Pact network, which allows it to work in close collaboration with Plastic Pacts in other countries, especially the U.S. Plastics Pact, which is also set to miss some of its 2025 targets.