Tipping Points: Toward Policies for Plastics Recycling in Businesses and Institutions

The Conference Board of Canada, 25 pages, August 12, 2022
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Canada’s industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) sector generates the most plastic waste but recycles the least. Canada needs to transform policies and regulations governing plastic waste streams in the ICI sector.

Document Highlights

  • Most Canadian businesses and institutions have no obligation to recycle. Current provincial and territorial policies are dominated by the absence of regulations and the presence of voluntary measures with limited scope.
  • Only 6 per cent and 19 per cent of government and private sector entities, respectively, collect data on the amount of plastic waste they generate, sort, recycle, incinerate, or landfill.
  • Performance standards in business and institutional waste management contracts require an upgrade.
  • Financial institutions can influence the behaviour of large firms in adopting circular approaches to plastic waste through environmental, social, and governance disclosures, and performance metrics. 
  • Some small businesses have similar consumption profiles to residences. They can be easily adopted into residential recycling programs with adjustments to service frequency.
  • Most plastic waste resides in landfills. Approaches to estimating the financial liability of landfills differ considerably across Canada. Consistent and science-based methods are needed to address this issue.

Table of Contents

Key Findings
The Provincial and Territorial Mosaic
A Municipal Patchwork
A Dearth of Data
Our Love-Hate Relationship With Landfills
Resistance to Change
A Mismatch of Infrastructure
Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Recommendations

Appendix A—Methodology

Appendix B—Bibliography

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