Development of Minimum Recycled Content Regulations for plastic items - Overview
As part of Canada’s plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030, we will require plastic packaging in Canada to contain at least 50% recycled content by 2030. Supporting this objective, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment endorsed a 50% recycled content requirement in plastic products, where applicable, by 2030 as part of Phase 1 of the Canada-wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste (PDF).
Recycled content requirements would be expected to:
- strengthen the market demand for recycled plastics;
- create market pressures for increased collection, sorting and recycling of plastic waste;
- create incentives for investments in supportive infrastructure and innovation;
- reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills, incinerators, and that enters the environment as pollution; and
- decrease greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic production.
Notice of Intent and public comment period
On February 11, 2022 we published a Notice of Intent in the Canada Gazette, Part I, to inform, and seek early feedback from, interested parties on the development of regulations, under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA), to require minimum recycled content in certain plastic manufactured items.
A document entitled Technical issues paper related to the Recycled content for certain plastic manufactured items Regulations was also published. It provides an overview of the purpose, context and key elements of the proposed Regulations. It also sought responses on specific questions to help guide the regulatory development process.
The technical issues paper proposed the following product categories for inclusion in the scope of the recycled content requirements:
- Beverage containers;
- Bottles (other than those in direct contact with food);
- Non-bottle rigid containers and trays (other than those in direct contact with food);
- Foam packaging (other than those in direct contact with food);
- Film and flexible plastic packaging (other than those in direct contact with food);
- Garbage bags; and
- Waste bins.
Publication of the Notice of Intent was followed by a 30-day public comment period. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) also hosted 5 virtual engagement sessions focused on product scope, definitions, measurement and reporting, and verification.
The public comment period closed on March 14, 2022. Feedback received during the public comment period is being taken into account as the proposed Regulations are developed.
In October 2020, ECCC published the discussion papier A proposed integrated management approach to plastic products to prevent waste and pollution. The discussion paper outlined the steps the Government of Canada is taking toward eliminating plastic pollution in Canada, including proposing regulations to require recycled content in plastic products and packaging. It sought input from Canadians on: options for a regulatory approach for recycled content requirements (for example, product-based, resin-based or economy-wide approach), scope of products and resins, and other considerations.
The publication of the discussion paper was followed by a 60-day public comment period and a series of webinars, including one that focused on recycled content requirements: Establishing Performance Standards.
In August 2021, a What we heard report was published and summarized the feedback received on the discussion paper from written comments, stakeholder discussion sessions and webinars.
The proposed Regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, as early as the end of 2022, followed by a public comment period. The Regulations could come into force as early as 2024.
- Government of Canada consulting on new measures to require certain plastic items be made of at least 50% recycled material
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Plastics Regulatory Affairs Division
351 St. Joseph Blvd., Place Vincent Massey, 9-064
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3
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