Resources produced include an industrial plastics audit guide
July 19, 2022 – The results are now available from the Alberta Plastics Data Project, a 2021 study
on the generation of plastics within Alberta’s Industrial Heartland (AIH). The Alberta Plastics
Recycling Association (APRA) received funding from the Federal Government to complete a study
in the industrial area of AIH, an area northeast of Edmonton, consisting of five partnering

The waste audit found that the annual tonnage of plastics disposed of from 25 companies across
the AIH in 2021 was estimated to be approximately 390 tonnes, with garbage bags being the
most prevalent plastic disposed. In addition to high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low density
polyethylene film, other materials generated included laminated film and shrink wrap and HDPE

The study, completed by Eunomia Research & Consulting Inc. and partners, found that post-use
plastic is predominately generated from activities related to the industrial operations and
administration departments within the companies studied. Many of the sites had materials
delivered in returnable plastic packaging, which did not end up in the disposal stream. These
returnable plastic packaging containers can be sent back to the supplier, or sent directly to a
recycler, as they are a clean stream of recyclable plastics.

The volume of post-use plastic disposed from the 25 companies in this study is small compared
to the total estimate of plastic disposed from the Industrial and Commercial (ICI) sector province
wide. The ICI sector disposes of an estimated 313,000 tonnes of plastic annually1.

The post-use plastic disposed in the Heartland is therefore 0.12% of this total. Various factors impacted the
study, including challenges with access to sites during the pandemic that eliminated the ability
to audit a hospital and reduced access to some industrial sites.
In addition to the results, the project produced a plastic audit guide that can be used by other
organizations and industrial sites to assess their plastic generation. Each participating company
received a summary of the audit results, to inform each sites’ own awareness about plastic

“This was the first of its kind study done in Alberta to try to measure the generation of industrial
plastics. We will now use these results to assess opportunities and work to find solutions to
manage the plastic,” commented APRA’s executive director, Tammy Schwass. “We are happy to
be able to share the audit guide with other jurisdictions who may look to complete similar

This project was one of 14 selected from across Canada to receive funding under the Zero Plastic
Waste Initiative by Environment and Climate Change Canada. 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 provided guidance on the
project and in-kind or financial support.

“Our Government has a comprehensive approach to reduce plastic pollution and move toward
its goal of zero plastic waste by 2030. This approach requires the support and active engagement
of the provinces, territories, municipalities and the private sector. The results of this study are
a welcome and valuable contribution to better understanding plastic waste in Canada, and will
help in the transition to a circular economy that keeps plastic in the economy and out of the
environment,” said the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate
Contact information
Tammy Schwass
Executive Director
Alberta Plastics Recycling Association

About the Alberta Plastics Recycling Association
APRA is in its 31st year as a not-for-profit association dedicated to the goals to advance plastic
circularity and progress Alberta as a sustainable place to do business. APRA is a conduit of
information in the diversion of plastics from landfill and makes introductions among stakeholders
to build important relationships. Its membership consists of plastics resin producers,
manufacturers, fabricators, converters, wholesalers and retailers of plastic products, along with
plastics recyclers and other members of the recycling community. The organization has helped
to establish plastics recycling initiatives in Alberta for materials including used oil containers, milk
containers and expanded polystyrene (EPS) among others. The Association is committed to the
establishment of an agricultural plastics program and increased capture of plastics materials
without a designated recycling program.

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.