The fifth annual report by Moore Recycling Associates, sponsored by CPIA, is taken from a survey of 500 plus companies that handle recycled plastics in North America including reclaimers, exporters, brokers, material recovery facilities (MRFs) and other handlers of used plastics.
15% was exported overseas
Carol Hochu, president/CEO, CPIA, said overall, 84% of the material reported was reclaimed in Canada or the US and 15% was exported overseas. The destination is unknown for the remaining 1%.
“This amounts to more than 240 million kg. It is evident the plastics recycling industry in North America is an important element in the circular economy,” she said.
“This year’s data, along with that of previous years, indicates material collected in Canada routinely remains in North America rather than moving to overseas markets.”
Plastic packaging collected for recycling includes plastic bottles, non-bottle rigid plastics (deli, dairy containers, bakery, vegetable, fruit containers), and plastic film, bags and outer wrap.
Increased collection, as well as continued progress in companies responding, contributed to the growth in postconsumer plastic reported.
Bottle and film represent most growth
The report’s findings are based on data from two surveys: a postconsumer plastic recycling survey of export markets for all postconsumer plastic categories and all domestic markets, except PET bottle reclaimers, by Moore Recycling, and a survey of PET bottle reclaimers by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR).
Data was provided by 52 companies; 23 Canadian, 16 US plastic reclaimers and 13 exporters.
Bottle and film categories represented most of the growth: a 13m kg increase in bottles and a 10m kg increase in film. Plastic bottles continue to make up the majority of the recycled plastic.
PET bottles are the highest volume plastic product segregated by resin collected for recycling, followed by HDPE bottles.
Canadian plastics recyclers now want more supply after under estimating the capacity they have. It is estimated the film and bag recycling capacity in Canada is at a 44% utilization rate and non-bottle rigid recycling capacity is at a 72% utilization rate.