Circular Materials Acquires Operations of the Resource Recovery Alliance (RRA)

On September 15, 2022, Circular Materials, the not-for-profit producer responsibility organization (PRO), announced they have successfully acquired the operations of the Resource Recovery Alliance (RRA) (formerly known as the Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance). This includes its systems, intellectual property, and employees. “This is a positive step forward that will result in greater efficiencies and resources as we continue to prepare for Ontario’s blue box transition next year,” said CEO Allen Langdon in the announcement.

“Producers have financed the development of RRA’s operations, systems, and intellectual property, as well as the training of its staff, through fees paid to provincial recycling organizations since 2012. Completing this purchase returns what producers have built over the last decade back to a not-for-profit, producer-created and governed organization. It also supports Circular Materials’ expansion plans and vision of leading the next evolution of recycling and extended producer responsibility across Canada.

This acquisition has no impact or change to Circular Materials’ operations, priorities or mandate. We will continue to build and implement a blue box recycling system in Ontario that advances innovation, increases performance, and delivers improved environmental outcomes.

We appreciate your continued support and look forward to building a great future. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at alangdon@circularmaterials.ca,” Langdon added.

Circular Materials is one of the registered PROs with RPRA for Ontario’s curb-side Blue Box Program as well as the organization that has put forth a stewardship plan on behalf of stakeholders in New Brunswick (Recycle NB) for the residential recycling of packaging and paper.


CCME Announces ‘A Roadmap to Strengthen the Management of Single-use and Disposable Plastics’

On August 31st, federal, provincial and territorial ministers of the Environment met in person for the first time in three years for the annual meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME).  A few days later on September 2nd, the  Ministers released A Roadmap to Strengthen the Management of Single-use and Disposable Plastics (the roadmap) as part of CCME’s continued implementation of the Canada-wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste. The roadmap includes best practices and voluntary actions that will guide governments to better manage plastic items that are most commonly found littering neighbourhoods, parks and natural landscapes. Ministers also encouraged key industry sectors to continue to commit to action on reducing plastic waste.

“By working with our federal, provincial and territorial partners, we are collaborating on solutions like the Canada-Wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste that will help reduce single-use and disposable plastics in our environment.” said Nils Clarke, Yukon’s Minister of Environment, who hosted his colleagues in Whitehorse.

Ministers highlighted the innovative approaches their respective governments are adopting to encourage the circular plastics economy, particularly in sectors that generate significant amounts of waste. Such measures, which include encouraging durable and reusable solutions, extended producer responsibility, labelling for recyclability, and recycled content requirements, help keep products and materials in use as long as possible to maximize their value.

Ministers also emphasized the work governments are already doing to ensure the plastic goods Canadians and the world need are produced and managed in a responsible manner.

Ministers talked about the importance of policies tailored to provincial and territorial circumstances that respect each government’s plastic waste management programs. Some Ministers expressed concerns over federal policies that label plastics as toxic and bans on plastics products.

They noted the importance of jurisdictions measuring progress for diversion, including repair, remanufacture, refurbishment and recycling to guide industry efforts towards zero plastic waste by 2030.

Single-use and disposable items are often difficult to collect, particularly when used away from home, and can be difficult to recycle if they are small or made of hard to recycle plastics. In Canada, packaging, including single-use and disposable plastics, makes up nearly half of all plastic waste (Deloitte Canada 2019). Single-use and disposable plastics are among the top twelve most collected items during Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanups, and are commonly littered items in neighbourhoods, parks and natural landscapes (Ocean Wise 2022).

For the purposes of this roadmap, single-use and disposable plastics are defined as items  made with plastic that are designed with the intent to be used only once or for a short period of time for their original purpose before they lose their original functionality, physical capacity or quality, or before they are discarded.

The roadmap is intended to support jurisdictions in reducing the negative environmental and socioeconomic impacts of single-use and disposable plastic items by:

  • identifying and defining the single-use and disposable plastic items that are most likely to be released into the environment or to pose other end-of-life management challenges
  • prioritizing the identified single-use and disposable plastic items for management action
  • identifying the range of existing and potential instruments available to manage single-use and disposable plastic items1
  • encouraging jurisdictions to monitor progress on the adoption of instruments to reduce, and improve the management of, single-use and disposable plastic items

This roadmap is intended to serve as a guide to jurisdictions and support their efforts to reduce the negative environmental and socio-economic impacts of single-use and disposable plastics. In 2016, 3.3 million tonnes of plastic waste were generated in Canada, of which 2.8 million tonnes (86%) were landfilled, 300,000 tonnes (9%) were recycled, 137,000 tonnes (4%) were incinerated with or without energy recovery, and 29,000 tonnes (1%) became plastic pollution (Deloitte Canada 2019). It is estimated that the packaging sector accounted for 47% (approximately 1.4 million tonnes) of all plastic waste generated in Canada in 2016, since most packaging is designed to become waste after a single use (Deloitte Canada 2019). This current state of affairs presents many opportunities for improvement through focusing on prevention and circularity in accordance with the waste hierarchy.

Federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions have a shared goal of zero plastic waste and want to move towards a circular economy for plastics. As discussed in Section 1, CCME has set an aspirational Canada-wide waste reduction goal of reducing waste disposed per capita by 30% Canada-wide by 2030 (based on 2014 data). According to ECCC’s National Waste Characterization Report, in 2016 plastics represented 13% of residential waste and 16% of industrial, commercial and institutional waste in Canada (ECCC 2020b). Ultimately, action on single-use and disposable plastics will contribute to meeting this goal by reducing unnecessary plastic items in the first place or increasing their ability to be successfully diverted.