Alberta Plastics Recycling Association Receives Zero Plastic Waste Funding from the Federal Government

January 21, 2021 – The Alberta Plastics Recycling Association (APRA) is pleased to announce a new project to collect data on the generation of plastics within Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, an area northeast of Edmonton, consisting of five partnering municipalities. This project is one of 14 selected from across Canada to receive funding under the Zero Plastic Waste Initiative by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“The Government of Canada has a comprehensive plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030 by keeping plastics in our economy and out of the environment. The plan requires the support and active engagement of the provinces and territories, municipalities and the private sector to protect our natural environment from plastic waste. Today’s announcement is a welcome and valuable contribution to better understanding plastic waste in Canada, and will help in the transition to a more circular economy,” said the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

The use and management of plastic has become an increasingly important topic on the agenda of many public and private organizations as they look for ways to advance a circular economy for plastics. Industry, governments, institutions and the general public are concerned with how to manage the materials they generate and use every day. While many of these groups recognize the benefits of plastics independently, they do not have the information and resources to understand the full complexity of end markets and recycling opportunities to address the issues.

“The first step of good management is good measurement. To find solutions to manage plastic, we need to understand how much plastic is being generated, where this occurs or what types of plastic feedstocks exist,” commented APRA’s executive director, Tammy Schwass. “We have the goal to advance a circular economy for plastics in the province, but we need the data to understand the regional supply and demand picture for plastics to build that business case.”

Partners who have made the project possible include the Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA), Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA), the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA), Dow, Inter Pipeline and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). These partners will provide guidance on the project and in-kind or financial support.

“Alberta has the opportunity to create a new plastics economy, where plastics are treated as a valuable commodity and not as waste or pollution,” noted Deborah Pietrusik, Research and Innovation Consultant at NAIT and Co-Chair of the Plastics Alliance of Alberta. “By understanding the supply and management of plastics in our communities, we can begin to identify the environmental and economic potential to achieve a more sustainable and resource-efficient future.”

The result of this study has the potential to open doors for the expansion of existing as well as new investment opportunities for recycling post-use plastic and feedstocks into higher valued consumer products or other materials. This in turn creates the potential for new opportunities in the province to diversify plastic resources and reduce the amount of post-use plastic being sent to landfill.

“Alberta and Alberta’s Industrial Heartland are well-positioned to serve as a hub for the plastics circular economy. This unique study will generate the necessary data to inform business cases that will ultimately encourage investment crucial for the new plastics circular economy value chain,” stated Mark Plamondon, Executive Director, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association.

The research will use a combination of methods, from site surveys and waste characterizations to assess the generation at industrial and institutional sites (two sectors with little information on the types and volumes of plastic generated). Once the data is analyzed it will be shared in a report and made publicly available. The project is expected to begin in early 2021 with completion by the end of 2021.

“The Northeast Capital Industrial Association, through its 23 member companies, will help inform this initiative by determining the types and volumes of post-use plastic that come from industrial sites,” says Laurie Danielson, Executive Director. “We are uniquely positioned in the Industrial Heartland for plastics research, and our members share a commitment to environmental programs that will benefit the region.”

The project also aligns with the goals of the provincial government, announced in the Natural Gas Strategy on October 6, to establish a center of excellence for plastics recycling in Western Canada.

Contact information
Tammy Schwass
Executive Director
Alberta Plastics Recycling Association

About the Alberta Plastics Recycling Association
The Alberta Plastics Recycling Association (APRA) is a not-for-profit association that has been dedicated to sustainable plastics recycling and minimizing plastic waste in the landfill for the past 30 years. APRA facilitates the development of sustainable programs to effectively manage plastics waste and acts as a resource to interest groups including individuals, governments and companies. Its membership consists of companies throughout the plastics life cycle from virgin polymer manufacturers, plastic product manufacturers as well as those involved in plastics capture, processing and recycling.

About Alberta’s Industrial Heartland
Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association is a non-profit municipal partnership that promotes and coordinates responsible industrial development in Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region. Our region’s ability to produce advanced chemistry products under robust environmental, social, and governance conditions is helping build a resilient economy, supported by diversification and strengthened by innovation.

About the Zero Plastics Waste Initiative
The Zero Plastic Waste Initiative aims to effect change across the plastics lifecycle to increase waste collection, improve value recovery, and prevent and remove plastic pollution. It supports projects that use innovative approaches leading to measurable, positive impacts to reduce plastic waste and pollution in Canada. Projects must improve the understanding, mitigation or remediation of plastic waste and pollution in Canada. They must clearly demonstrate activities that are measurable and will contribute to the implementation of Canada’s zero plastic waste vision. This includes our commitments under the Ocean Plastics Charter and Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste.