More than 95% of Canadians have access to plastic bottle recycling, CPIA finds; 91% have access to recycling of household tubs, lids; foamed PS food packaging now recyclable by 32%

TORONTO , April 3, 2012 (press release) – Study Shows More Than 95 Percent of Canadians Can Recycle Their Plastic Bottles and Most Other Rigid Plastics

In the newly updated Residential Recycling Access for Consumer Plastic Packaging, December 2011, prepared for the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) by CM Consulting, findings show that an increasing number of Canadians have access to recycling many different forms of plastic packaging, including nearly Country-wide access to plastic bottle recycling (95+%) and 91% access to recycling of household tubs and lids used for yogurt containers and other dairy products, up from 88% in 2009. The report also highlights access for PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) non-bottle rigid packaging (such as trays or bakery clamshells), which can now be recycled by 76% of Canadians, three percentage points more than in 2009.

The largest increase in access for a particular material noted in the report is for foamed polystyrene. Foamed polystyrene for food packaging is now recyclable by 32% of Canadians (an increase of seven percentage points since 2009) and access to recycling for expanded polystyrene protective packaging has more than doubled, increasing from 12% to 31%, in that same time frame. "We believe that recycling access for foam polystyrene has risen significantly due to advances in affordable technology which can compact the foam material, thereby reducing its volume and improve cost to ship to recyclers", said Cathy Cirko, Vice President of CPIA. Also of note, non foam polystyrene access is slightly higher compared to 2009 at 44%.

Access to recycling of plastic bags and other films is estimated at 56%. It is important to note that the report only measures access as having municipal or private curbside pick up of the material or a drop off depot where the material is accepted. Plastic bags are accepted at many retail locations across the county so the opportunity to recycle these is likely significantly higher than 56%.

The research team, CM Consulting ( virtually visited (via web searches and telephone) nearly every municipal recycling program in the country and tracked which plastic materials were and were not accepted in either in the municipal curbside, depot drop-off program, beverage container redemption locations, or curbside subscription programs.

This 2011 update provides estimates of recycling access in terms of permanent households covered and as a percent of population. It highlights strengths and weaknesses by province and plastic type, and compares 2011 results with those from a similar study done in 2009.

"We are very pleased that so many Canadians have access to plastics recycling in their communities," said Carol Hochu, President and CEO, CPIA. "We will continue to work with stewardship agencies and municipalities across Canada to help increase awareness, so that more people will recycle, diverting valuable plastic resources, and supporting our recycling industry."

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association is the national voice of Canada's plastics industry, representing the interests of processors, material suppliers, equipment manufacturers and brand owners across the country.

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