One of the best ways to keep plastics out of the environment is to not create plastic waste in the first place, and this vision is driving a new part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan.
The use of plastics in manufacturing is growing rapidly, but only a small fraction is recycled back into the plastic supply chain. The recycled plastics manufacturing stimulus fund will expand the use of innovative technologies to turn used plastics into new products, support the circular economy of plastics, increase local processing capacity for recycling and create new jobs.
“Plastic overuse, waste and pollution are impacting environmental and human health all over the globe, and consumers are increasingly demanding products made with recycled content,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “There is enormous potential for plastic waste to be source material for new products – keeping it out of landfills and protecting our environment – another strategy in our CleanBC Plastics Action Plan.”
The $5-million program will be administered by the Alacrity Foundation of BC, a Victoria-based not-for-profit organization that connects entrepreneurs and innovators with support, mentorship and capital.
“It’s clear that we need to move away from single-use plastics and make better use of post-consumer recycled materials.” said Richard Egli, managing director, Alacrity Canada. “By identifying projects and companies that have innovative solutions when it comes to plastic recycling, we can help boost B.C.’s manufacturing supply chain and create new jobs and opportunities.”
Alacrity has over a decade of experience supporting technology entrepreneurs in developing small- and medium-sized companies throughout western Canada. Companies that are part of the Alacrity Cleantech Program use innovation to develop solutions for microplastic pollution and ocean monitoring, water treatment, energy efficiency and other crucial sectors.
The following criteria will apply to all applications:
- Eligible organizations include Indigenous groups or organizations; not-for-profit organizations; social enterprises, community contribution companies or co-op organizations; and private companies.
- Projects are to be located within B.C. and completed by Dec. 31, 2021.
- Applicants commit to providing one-third of eligible project costs toward the total cost of the project.
- Projects must achieve at least one of the following outcomes:
- increase B.C.’s processing capacity to supply more post-consumer resin (PCR) plastics to product and packaging manufacturers;
- increase the use of PCR plastic in manufacturing; or
- support PCR plastic product research, design and testing (including trials with potential to increase use of PCR plastic).
Proposals will be accepted until Feb. 15, 2021. Fund recipients and their projects are expected to be announced by April 2021.
- The fund supports what government heard during the 2019 CleanBC Plastics Action Plan consultation, including reducing plastic waste by increasing the use of recycled plastics in manufacturing. Over 35,000 British Columbians responded to the consultation, with 94% of respondents reporting they were concerned about plastic waste, and 86% stating it was important to seek out products with more recycled content.
- Global plastic recycling generates an estimated $75 billion a year through major companies committed to using more recycled content to reduce plastics.
- B.C. is a leader in creating extended producer responsibility (EPR) recycling programs. It has more programs than any other jurisdiction in North America.
- 315,000 tonnes of plastics, such as those in electronics, beverage containers and other packaging, are captured annually in B.C.’s EPR programs.
- A report commissioned by the ministry in 2016 found that EPR in B.C. created over 900 jobs, and in one year:
- the value of recovered materials was over $46 million;
- 160,000 tonnes of material were diverted from landfill; and
- greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by over 200,000 tonnes (CO₂e).
- Recycle BC, a producer-funded agency, collects 41% of all plastic packaging from the residential stream, while nationally the collection rate of all plastic packaging is estimated to be 23%. More than 98% of plastics collected by the Recycle BC program remain in B.C., with a local end-market in metro Vancouver.
The fund webpage and application form can be found here: https://www.alacritycanada.com/cleantech/bc-recycled-plastics-manufacturing-stimulus-fund/
The CleanBC Plastics Action Plan "What We Heard Report' is available here: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/plastics
Learn more about the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/plastics