Recycling Council of Alberta supports action on plastics
October 7, 2020 – The Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA) believes announcements on action by the federal and provincial governments to manage plastic are crucial to tackling the issues of wasted resources and plastic pollution. The RCA advocates for the reduction of unnecessary plastics and the advancement of a circular economy for all materials, including plastics.
Recent announcements include advancing a circular plastics economy – both in the government of Alberta’s Natural Gas Strategy and today’s federal announcement from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Minister Wilkinson on implementing measures from the Zero Plastics Waste Strategy.
The Government of Canada has announced a series of initiatives and measures to eliminate certain sources of plastic pollution by the end of 2021 (this includes plastic checkout bags, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery, straws, and food ware made from hard to recycle plastics), expand recycled-content standards and set targets for recycling rates.
The national and provincial strategies align in some key areas, including the vision for 55% reusable and recyclable plastics by 2030 and the use of extended producer responsibility (EPR) to better manage materials. This shows the potential for further collaboration on the plastic waste issue.
“This is a bold and exciting announcement, and we are pleased to see the federal government carrying through on the commitments made in the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter,” remarks RCA Executive Director, Christina Seidel.
The RCA is committed to working with partners to advance the circular economy in Alberta. One role the organization plays is as co-chair of the Plastics Alliance of Alberta, a group with the vision to advance a circular economy for plastics in Alberta. The RCA is also working with a range of stakeholders to bring EPR to Alberta and encourage the transition to national harmonization.
In its more than 30-year history in the recycling sector in Alberta, the RCA has advocated for the 3Rs with reduction as a key part of the equation. Now, more than ever, all players need to work to eliminate what we do not need, and ensure that plastics stay in use, maximizing their value as we move toward a circular economy.
Others, including a Senior Policy Analyst with Cardwell Grove Inc., Usman Valiante, have long expressed the importance of these policies.
“Alberta has a natural advantage in driving a circular economy for plastics. The petrochemical industry and plastics manufacturing sector brings a wealth of knowledge in the chemistry of plastics that is readily applied to advancing chemical recycling of plastics. Alberta has some of the lowest cost renewable energy to power circular systems and has significant pre-existing investments in plastic recycling.”
The Province of Alberta has an opportunity to leverage its expertise in the chemistry of plastics and to work together with Environment and Climate Change Canada to achieve the mutual goals of environmental protection and economic development through a circular economy for plastics.
Recycling Council of Alberta