Plastic Facts

Opportunities for the environment and a circular economy:

Canada has a significant opportunity for plastics recycling. 3.3 million tonnes of plastic ended up in Canadian landfills in 2016, 12 times the amount of plastic that was recycled; only 25 percent is collected and nine percent recycled. Source

Canada currently has an $7.8 billion lost opportunity to capture plastics for recycling. If this does not change, it is estimated this lost opportunity could rise to $11.1 billion by 2030. Source 

Major changes to recycling in Canada could see 90 per cent of plastics avoid landfills by 2030 through new investments in recycling and changes to government regulation and consumer willpower. This represents emissions savings of 1.8 Mt of CO2e.

With ideas for solutions beyond recycling, many organizations have joined the global movement to advance a plastics circular economy. “A circular economy is a systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment. In contrast to the ‘take-make-waste’ linear model, a circular economy is regenerative by design and aims to gradually decouple growth from the consumption of finite resources.” Source

circular economy system diagram

A circular economy can create jobs:

Alberta’s chemistry and plastics industry was valued at $16.2 billion and employed about 23,000 people directly and indirectly in 2019. Source

According to the 2019 report, Quantifying the Economic Value of Alberta’s Recycling Programs, 1.2M tonnes of product are recycled in Alberta annually. Existing recycling activities provide roughly 4500 direct full-time jobs and an additional 1600 indirect jobs. Full report

Participants across the plastics value chain that make these opportunities possible:

Extended Producer Responsibility Advances the Circular Economy:

The Extended Producer Responsibility for Residential Packaging and Paper Products: Alberta Collaborative Extended Producer Responsibility Study released in March 2020 shows a compelling vision for extended producer responsibility (EPR) for residential packaging and paper products (PPP) with a made-in-Alberta solution. Full Report


Co-chair – Deborah Pietrusik

Co-chair – Christina Seidel


Support for the website development has come from Invest Alberta