Avis d'opposition : Layfield Canada Ltd.

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Layfield Flexible Films

December 9, 2020

Thomas Kruidenier
Interim Executive Director, Program Development and Engagement Division
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Gatineau, Québec K1A 0H3

RE: Response to the Government of Canada’s proposed order adding “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1, the List of Toxic Substances, under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act(CEPA) published on October 10, 2020 in Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 154, Number 41.

The Layfield Group is a diversified group of companies involved in manufacturing, fabrication, and distribution of plastic products. The company produces a variety of flexible plastic packaging films, construction sheeting and geomembrane products in its Canadian facilities located in Richmond, BC, Edmonton, AB and Vaughan, ON.

Layfield is a private, family owned business in operation since 1978, headquartered in Richmond, BC with locations across Canada employing 350 people; as well as operations in the US and Australia employing an additional 100 people.

Layfield differentiates itself with the diversity and uniqueness of its product line and its capabilities, and the ability to specify and supply cost-effective solutions and products for a customer's particular need or application. The ability to manufacture, fabricate and install, as well as incorporate a range of third-party materials, allow the company to supply a bundled package of related, technically complex products.

Flexible Films focuses on manufacturing and processing a variety of flexible packaging products, construction film and geomembrane made from a variety of substrates; processes include mono and multi-layer extrusion, laminating, printing and converting.

Layfield has a long history in environmental protection. Dating back to the 1980’s Layfield has designed and manufactured plastics based engineered solutions designed to protect the environment from hazardous materials. Layfield is committed to allocating resources to tackle the ‘end of life’ issue with Plastics. We protect our environment through sustainable innovation and sustainable operations.

Sustainable innovation:

Working together with brand owners and industry experts, Layfield has focused its sustainability efforts on 3 major initiatives – Products designed for discard (landfill), Products designed for recycling, and Products made from Recycled materials.

Layfield Group was awarded 2019’s Green Business of the Year by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce for our eco-friendly BioflexTM sustainable film. BioflexTM will safetly return to the environment where it typically ends its life within the traditional waste streams. The energy from this packaging will be harnessed and converted into clean, renewable, sustainable energy within today’s modern landfill environments. Our 4Flex technology offers manufacturers a laminated polyethylene solution that consumers can recycle with ease, simply recycle where #4 plastic is accepted. Our Enviroliner 3000 geomembrane polyethylene sheet is made from 100% recycled resin

Layfield Canada Ltd. is also a member of the is also a member of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada’s (CIAC) Plastics Division, which represents Canada’s leaders in plastics industry sustainability - a $28 billion sector that directly employs over 93,000 Canadians.

Layfield Canada Ltd. appreciates the opportunity to respond to the Government of Canada’s proposed order adding “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1, the List of Toxic Substances, under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) published on October 10, 2020 in Canada Gazette, Part I, Volume 154, Number 41.

The final science assessment of plastic pollution does not fulfill the requirement for a screening assessment, and/or a screening assessment of all ‘plastic manufactured items’ and is insufficient basis for the broad category identified in the Proposed Order.

Rather than working with industry and investing in innovation, the Federal Government is using the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), Schedule 1 to list “plastic manufactured items” as toxic without the required justification, then using the listing to ban some plastics. CEPA is not the right tool. This overreaching decision by the federal government ignores due process and the lack of a true and full science assessment.

A draft screening level risk assessment (DSLRA) would have a different conclusion, would not have led to such a broad designation, would show a significant weight of evidence to suggest that the risk to the environment is not from plastic manufactured items, and show that the risk is not related to the physical/chemical properties of the designated items. We need a forward-looking approach to eliminating plastic waste that is anchored in innovation and public-private collaboration.

Other inconsistencies in established CMP process for adding substances to Schedule 1 were not offered for public comment in draft form. We have the opportunity to implement innovative solutions to effectively recycle, recover, and reuse plastic waste. To achieve our goal of keeping plastics in the economy, not the environment, we need to shift our mindset and recognize used plastics as a resource, not a waste. By doing so, we will unlock a future that includes a circular economy for plastics -where products are continuously recycled, recovered and repurposed into new plastic items -and an environment free of plastic waste. Industry is already investing in the research and technology required to make this happen, and these investments, which are creating new jobs across the country, will be key to our nation's post-pandemic economic recovery. However, no government policy or legislative tool currently exists to effectively manage the lifecycle of plastics.

We should also be designing plastics, particularly hard to recycle plastics for the landfill to be converted to energy. As plastic is made from natural gas this is fully circular. https://www.bioflexpackaging.com/

Plastic manufactured items are not toxic

The proposed order is not as specific as a science assessment, which would correctly identify the potential harm of plastic pollution in the environment. This applies to every single piece of plastic in Canada, without exception, regardless of how it is disposed.

Risk to the environment does not come from the item, but from behaviours, decisions and/or contract obligations of consumers, waste management groups and municipalities. Intervening steps that must occur before alleged risk to environment presents reorganizing the plastic manufactured used by a consumer, the plastic manufactured item has to be improperly disposed of, or poor municipal waste management practices could also contribute

We would like to see a harmonized Circular Economy framework for plastics that includes government and industry working together to achieve the following:

Declaring plastic manufactured items as toxic when these acts contribute to the adverse outcome ignores the true cause(s) of the unacceptable risk.

Plastic materials are not found to be toxic when the exposures of concern do not emanate from an intended use. The identified risk does not come from the plastic item itself; it is from disposal after intended use.

Science Approach Document published without a complete view of the best available science lacks a comprehensive review of scientific literature. DSLRA approach would have led to a more fulsome review of scientific literature and application/contextualization to pollution in Canada and would not have concluded that all plastic manufactured plastic items have the potential to cause ecological harm. Finally, a designation must be more precise to target individual concerns.

We do not agree with the proposed order to add “plastic manufactured items” to Schedule 1. Designating plastic manufactured items as “toxic” without a proper risk assessment undermines:

We urge the government to:

Proposed Addition to Schedule 1, Broad Target Under Proposed Order

Plastics are highly technical. The CIAC is a well resourced and strong partner with many of the complex technical issues that have led to roadblocks in more circularity. Canada’s chemistry industry is a strong partner of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Health Canada in the implementation of the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP).

Layfield is also partnered with many other associations including the Western Plastics Association.

Over the past two decades, the CMP has been a tremendous Canadian success story:

The proposed approach raises the following concerns:

Final Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution, Data Gaps

Agree with:

Additional study is required to determine the scientific factors and consequent risks associated with specific substances before any risk management actions should be taken.

Precautionary Principle, Risk Assessment

Precautionary principle.

The precautionary principle has been applied inappropriately.

Treaty Obligations and Trade

Parties to the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) agreed to a risk-based approach to chemicals management.

Conclusion:

Government Commitment to Sound Science

A scientific panel should be established to review government’s work, one that has no vested political interest in the outcome of the investigation. Government admitted to scientific gaps in science assessment that preclude the ability to conduct a quantitative risk assessment – a panel could fill these gaps.

Moving ahead with significant data gaps is not overly precautionary, but rather consistent with the prime minister’s instructions in the minister’s mandate letter to ensure that the Government of Canada is committed to strengthen science in government decision-making and to support scientists’ vital work.”

Layfield has expertise and experience in recycling, polymer formulations, extrusion, converting, laminating and its own brand ownership. We would be happy to provide viable technology and resources that can be implemented on a wide scale immediately.

Currently manufacturers in Canada face an uphill battle versus importing countries with significant advantages. This is another blow to our industry chasing good jobs, technology and expertise from our country. We look forward to working with government for a brighter future.

Sincerely,
Mark Rose
President, Flexible Films Layfield Canada Ltd.

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