Government of Canada supports Canadian innovation in tackling plastic packaging waste
June 10, 2022 – Markham, Ontario
Plastic pollution is a growing problem globally, affecting both the economy and the environment. Canadian businesses are among the best positioned to find innovative solutions to prevent plastic waste and to advance a circular economy for plastics while considering the environmental, social, and economic impacts. This is why the Government of Canada is supporting small and medium-sized businesses in developing innovative ideas and technologies to come up with sustainable alternative packaging and move Canada towards zero plastic waste.
Today, the Government of Canada is announcing the winner of the Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenge on Sustainable Alternatives to Plastic Packaging. This Challenge is sponsored by Environment and Climate Change Canada as part of the Innovative Solutions Canada program. Magemi Mining Inc., based in Markham, Ontario, will receive up to $1 million to develop a prototype of its proposed sustainable alternative to plastic packaging, a reduced graphene oxide reinforced recycled paper. This product is durable, highly recyclable, and could replace single-use plastic in various applications, such as plastic grocery bags, while maintaining convenience and accessibility.
Single-use plastic products and packaging are a priority area for action for the Government of Canada as they account for almost half of the plastic waste generated in Canada every year. These products are typically designed to be thrown away after one use and often last hundreds of years in landfills and the environment. Participants in the Sustainable Alternatives to Plastic Packaging Challenge were asked to develop new alternative reusable or recyclable products and product systems that can replace one or more single-use plastic packaging products.
The Innovative Solutions Canada program is a key component of the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year plan to make Canada a global innovation leader and prepare Canadians to succeed in tomorrow’s economy. As a part of the program, the Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenges support Canadian-made technologies and Canada’s vision of a zero plastic waste future.
“When we as a country choose to move away from the use of harmful single-use plastics in our day-to-day lives, we are at the same time opening the door to up-and-coming Canadian businesses. Magemi Mining Inc.’s recycled and reinforced paper packaging fills the gap by providing Canada with a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic grocery bags. The company’s implementable and scalable product helps Canada reach the goal our government has set to eliminate harmful single-use plastics.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“I am pleased to see today’s announcement about this innovative new product that could help reduce single-use plastic. It offers a great alternative to using plastic bags in grocery stores, and so many other places, that so often end up causing harm in the environment.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
“Our government is committed to ensuring Canada’s future is clean and green. The important and innovative project selected today is a step towards achieving that. When our government and innovative companies come together to address one of the world’s most pressing problems, such as plastic waste and pollution, we can accomplish incredible things.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“Magemi’s research presents a unique opportunity for two of Canada’s resource pillars, mining and forestry, to innovate together in the area of nano materials and create equal opportunities for cross-industry apprenticeship and research, and for engagement with Indigenous communities. It is our belief that the most significant way to support our economy and our environment is by engaging impactful and committed stakeholders, both in terms of economic strength, and labour force participation and diversity. Our recycled paper product is 100 percent made in Canada, from graphite flakes to recycled paper pulp, and it offers a sustainable solution to address plastic pollution.”
– Maria Christova, Financial Services Lead, Magemi Mining Inc.
Innovative Solutions Canada has launched fifteen Plastics Challenges to date, committing nearly $19 million to support Canadian innovators and small and medium-sized businesses.
Every year, Canadians throw away three million tonnes of plastic waste, only 9 percent of which is recycled, meaning the vast majority of plastics end up in landfills. In 2016, about 29,000 tonnes found their way into our natural environment.
By improving the management of plastic waste and investing in innovative solutions, Canada can reduce carbon emissions by 1.8 megatonnes annually, generate billions of dollars in revenue, and create approximately 42,000 jobs by 2030.
Canada’s zero plastic waste agenda also includes ambitious actions in areas such as single-use plastics, recycled content, greening federal operations, advancing science, and reducing plastic pollution, including the prevention and retrieval of lost fishing gear.
In December 2021, the Government of Canada published the proposed Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I, initiating a seventy-day public comment period that ended on March 5, 2022. During this period, stakeholders and partners were invited to submit comments to Environment and Climate Change Canada on the proposed Regulations, the accompanying Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, and the draft “Guidance for Selecting Alternatives to the Single-Use Plastics in the Proposed Single-Use Plastics Prohibition Regulations.”
- Innovative Solutions Canada – Challenges
- Government of Canada supports innovative, made-in-Canada solutions to plastic waste
- Government of Canada supports small businesses developing innovative solutions to plastic pollution
- Government helping small businesses innovate
- Plastic waste and pollution reduction
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
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