The Canada Plastics Pact (CPP), the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), Circular Materials, the Circular Plastics Taskforce (CPT), Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ) and The Film and Flexibles Recycling Coalition of the The Recycling Partnership have joined forces to launch PRFLEX, an initiative aimed at improving the recovery and recycling rates of flexible plastics collected from Canadian households. Learnings from this initiative will also be shared to support recycling in the United States. 

Flexible packaging is recognized for its light weight, durability, versatility, efficient extension of food shelf-life, and resource efficiency – thereby offering sustainability advantages. However, given it is often made up of multiple resins and other materials, there are collection, sortation, and recycling infrastructure challenges that need to be addressed to improve its recyclability.

"Our common goal is to increase the use of recycled content in plastic packaging,” said the PRFLEX leadership team in a joint declaration. “For that to happen, we need improved sortation and recycling capacities in Canada. This first-of-its-kind initiative represents a stepping stone towards that objective by way of assessing the current situation and designing high performing systems for films and flexibles across the country. We look forward to working together to increase recycling rates and advance a circular economy in Canada.”

With the support of well-recognized consulting firms NovAxia Inc. and Lichens Recyclability Inc., the instigating members will be implementing this unprecedented collaboration in four phases:

  • Understanding baseline data to determine the percentage of flexible plastic packaging currently being collected and recycled, according to format and type, in each province.
  • Identifying infrastructure gaps in material recovery facilities (MRFs) and at recyclers.
  • Proposing new technologies and optimizing processes to increase capture rates, improve sorting and produce higher quality post-consumer recycled resins.
  • Applying learnings by installing and measuring the performance of the better-suited equipment in select partner facilities.

Further information will be communicated in the upcoming months as PRFLEX achieves its project milestones.