As part of its 2022 budget, British Columbia will spend nearly $10 million on projects that will reduce the use of new plastic, expand reuse of plastics, and increase the use of post-consumer recycled plastic.
A $10-million investment in the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund will help grow made-in-B.C. solutions to reduce plastic pollution, create new products and increase job opportunities.
This second intake of the Plastics Action Fund includes dedicated funding for businesses that are developing systems for reuse, and Indigenous-led projects. It builds on the nearly $5 million distributed in 2021 to nine projects through the first intake of the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund, which increased B.C.’s capacity to process and use recycled plastic by 20,000 tonnes per year.
“The funding we received through the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund enabled Plascon to create the first child-safe cannabis container made from 100% recycled plastic,” said Clark Chow, president and CEO of Plascon Plastics, which was part of the first funding round.
“These containers demonstrate how products made from post-consumer recycled plastics are comparable to those made from virgin plastics. If you factor in the benefits to the economy and the environment, using waste-stream materials outperforms the use of new plastic.”
B.C.-based projects will be selected for the second funding intake based on their ability to reduce the use of new plastic or increase the use of post-consumer recycled plastic.
Interested applicants can apply online, with successful projects being chosen beginning in late September and continuing until February 2023. All projects must be complete by Feb. 15, 2024.
“Thanks to the funding we received through the Province’s CleanBC Plastics Action Fund, Merlin was able to upgrade equipment and increase the supply of recycled plastic used as feedstock in new packaging,” said Kevin Andrews, vice-president of operations, Merlin Plastics, another of the first round funding recipients.
“By recycling discarded packaging in an environmentally sound, economically efficient and socially responsible fashion, we are ensuring discarded plastics do not end up in our natural environment and existing plastics are put back into our economy.”
B.C. has more extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs than any other jurisdiction in North America. Over 315,000 tonnes of plastics, such as those in electronics, beverage containers and other packaging, are already captured annually in B.C.’s EPR programs.
The Province is phasing in the recycling of new waste products, including electric-vehicle batteries, mattresses, compressed-gas canisters and medical sharps (e.g., hypodermic needles) through the Extended Producer Responsibility Five-Year Plan.
The Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative has cleaned nearly 4,000 kilometres of shoreline, removed more than 1,000 tonnes of debris and recycled or upcycled 65% of recovered material.