Chemistry sector commits to combatting plastic waste with US$1B investment

Industry, government and consumers all play a key role in the circular economy

CIAC and CPIA sponsor a lively discussion on getting to zero plastic waste

In front of a packed house of approximately 70 people at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa CIAC and CPIA held a lively discussion with the Sixth Estate on Breaking the mold: getting to zero plastic waste on December 11.

CIAC’s Executive Vice President, Isabelle Des Chênes, opened the discussion up by framing the issue and giving a brief presentation on the broad issues at play including the benefits of plastic, Canadians’ perceptions on plastic waste and what industry can do to support solutions. “The public in Canada have been up in arms on this subject and rightly so. As manufacturers of plastic resin and plastics, we need to work with governments to educate the public about plastics’ benefits to society and the environment,” said Des Chênes.

Christopher Hilkene, CEO of Pollution Probe, then spoke about what his organization is doing to raise public awareness of the issue of plastic waste and bringing different stakeholders together to discuss solutions.

The Director of Government Relations at NOVA Chemicals, Ken Faulkner, then outlined the work that manufacturers are doing to tackle this issue, such as innovating to make plastic packaging fully recyclable and working with non-profit partners to improve infrastructure to reduce marine plastic debris in Southeast Asia.

Ryan L’Abbe, Vice President Operations, GreenMantra Technologies, brought the important element of innovation to create end markets for recycled products. He pointed out that due to a lack of supply in Canada, his company actually imports materials from the U.S. to have enough post-consumer plastic to recycle into products like asphalt and roof shingles.

Rounding out the discussion, Sean Fraser, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change then spoke on the Federal government’s recent efforts to create a framework for a national strategy of reducing plastic waste and what needs to happen in the near and long-term future to tackle the issue.

Watch a full recording of the panel discussion on the Sixth Estate Facebook Live page here.

Information sharing and collaboration at Alberta Chemistry Day 2018

Addressing public perception of the chemistry industry and how to improve it


CIAC President and CEO, Bob Masterson, discussed the pressing issue of marine litter, plastic waste and how to change the public’s perception of the chemistry industry in a keynote address at the annual Chemistry Canada Conference in Edmonton on September 25.

Mr. Masterson presented findings from a survey of Canadians’ perception on plastics, explained how plastics are essential to our modern and sustainable way of life, and what the chemistry industry must do to turn public perception around.

Promoting sustainability through chemistry at the G7 Ocean Partnership Summit

CIAC’s, Executive VP, Isabelle Des Chênes spoke to the benefits of plastic and the need for better waste recovery efforts in a workshop on Ocean Plastics and Marine Litter during the Ocean Partnership Summit held in conjunction with the G7 Environment, Oceans and Energy Ministers’ meetings in Halifax September 19 to 20.

The workshop included a framing panel session and stakeholder dialogue chaired by Professor John Nightingale of Ocean Wise. Joining Ms. Des Chênes were Susan Ruffo of Ocean Conservancy, Lisa Svensson of UN Environment and Rob Kaplan of Circulate Capital.

Panel members spoke of the opportunities for improved, broader cross-sectoral collaboration, both with government and between governments, the importance of engaging communities, incubating and investing in waste and recycling infrastructures in developing nations and much more.

“We believe that plastics are central to our modern and more sustainable future,” said Ms. Des Chênes. “They are an extremely efficient material that helps lower our environmental footprint in almost every part of modern life. At the same time, they unequivocally do not belong in our oceans nor in our natural environment.”

Ms. Des Chênes also noted, “We need to do a better job of recycling and recovering plastics after they are used, and designing plastic applications with recovery in mind, because plastics have a tremendous value that needs to be captured. That’s where the drive towards an increasingly circular economy for plastic packaging can make a difference.”

Following the panel discussion, stakeholders were invited to discuss and vote on key recommendations to share with the G7 Ministers during their deliberations the next day. The recommendations included:

  • Developing perspectives, policies and regulations that enable and direct business and industry to move towards circular economy solutions, including alternatives, new polymers, new manufacturing processes and new business perspectives.
  • Incubate and invest in waste and recycling infrastructures in developing nations.
  • Support increased public understanding and involvement as it relates to plastic disposal.

NOVA Chemicals invests to prevent plastic debris in Indonesia

CIAC member, NOVA Chemicals, has announced a three-year investment of nearly $2 million to support a new global initiative to reduce marine plastic pollution in Southeast Asia called Project STOP.

The initiative’s goal is to design, implement and scale circular economy solutions to marine plastic pollution in countries with high leakage of plastics into oceans. NOVA Chemicals’ investment will support the first city partnership in Muncar, a coastal fishing community located in Banyuwangi, Indonesia. With minimal waste services in place, many citizens are forced to dump their waste directly into the environment.

As a member of Responsible Care®, CIAC’s U.N.-recognized sustainability initiative, NOVA Chemicals has long worked towards safe, responsible and sustainable chemical manufacturing.

“Our investment in Project STOP demonstrates our unwavering commitment to shaping a world that is even better tomorrow than it is today. We understand that part of this commitment to being ‘better tomorrow’ is our commitment to Responsible Care and Sustainability,” said John Thayer, Senior Vice President, Polyethylene Business at NOVA Chemicals.

“NOVA Chemicals has a long history of respecting our employees, communities and the environment. We are a founding member of Responsible Care and are deeply committed to the industry’s ideals of sustainability.”

CIAC is working with its members and partners, like NOVA, to reduce plastic waste and support the circular economy. In June, partnering with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, CIAC and its members committed to set ambitious targets to reuse, recycle or recover 100 per cent of plastics packaging by 2040.

Learn more about CIAC’s commitment to supporting the circular economy 

Learn more about Project STOP 


l’ACIC félicite Elysis pour son nouveau procédé de production d’aluminium sans carbone (article en anglais)

Congratulations to Canadian aluminum sector leaders Alcoa, Alcana and Apple who, with the support of the Federal and Quebec Governments, have developed a new carbon-free aluminum production process that will eventually result in annual greenhouse gas reductions of more than six million tons in Canada alone.

“The process relies upon decades of research in totally new chemical reactions from those associated with carbon-based production methods,” said Vincent Christ, CEO of Elysis, the new joint venture.

This success illustrates that by working together, the resource, manufacturing and chemistry sectors can point the way to a more sustainable future while growing the economy, here in Canada, while at the same time reducing emissions. The new venture will be in Quebec and export the technology throughout the rest of the world.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto announce world’s first carbon-free aluminum Smelting Process

$558 million investment project will create and maintain thousands of jobs in Canada

Plaider en faveur d’une réglementation modernisée de la gestion des sols excédentaires en Ontario afin de parvenir à une utilisation bénéfique sans nuire aux possibilités économiques (en anglais seulement)

L’industrie de la chimie est prête à relever le défi des déchets de plastique

Alors que nos dirigeants se rendent au Sommet du G7 à Charlevoix, au Québec, le 8 juin avec l’intention de proposer un accord de Paris sur les déchets marins, et que nos collègues de Plastics Europe et de l’American Chemistry Council proposent des cibles audacieuses pour réduire les déchets de plastique, nous sommes à un moment décisif en ce qui a trait à la politique publique et à la chaîne de valeur mondiale du plastique.

J’ai l’assurance que ce point d’inflexion créera les conditions requises pour l’optimisme, l’innovation et des progrès significatifs dans l’industrie de la chimie et le secteur des plastiques du Canada, alors que nous nous préparons à un avenir sans aucun déchet.

Dans le cadre de ce leadership, l’ACIC a formé un partenariat avec l’Association canadienne de l’industrie des plastiques et ses membres afin d’annoncer les cibles de réduction des déchets suivantes :

  • l’objectif idéal que 100 pour cent des emballages de plastique sont réutilisés, recyclés ou récupérés d’ici 2040, et
  • l’objectif provisoire ambitieux que 100 pour cent des emballages de plastique sont recyclables ou récupérables d’ici 2030.

Ces cibles ne seront pas faciles à atteindre.  Elles nécessiteront des actions de la part de toute la société.  Parallèlement, le problème des déchets marins exige que toutes les industries, chaque citoyen et chaque gouvernement de la planète s’unissent.

Nous sommes tous d’accord que les plastiques n’ont pas leur place dans l’océan, et dans tout autre cours d’eau, point à la ligne.  C’est un gaspillage considérable de précieuses ressources que le plastique soit utilisé une seule fois puis éliminé comme déchet.

Cependant, le plastique reste primordial pour notre avenir.  C’est un élément essentiel de notre mode de vie moderne et plus durable.  Il garde les aliments frais plus longtemps, il rend nos voitures et nos maisons plus efficaces sur le plan énergétique, il est extrêmement pratique et il fait tout ça de manière rentable et avec des avantages environnementaux évidents par rapport à d’autres matières.

L’industrie, avec les décideurs politiques fédéraux, provinciaux et municipaux et d’autres personnes influentes sur le plan politique, doivent commencer à collaborer plus étroitement afin de créer les conditions où la valeur du plastique peut être réalisée plus d’une fois et, dans certains cas, à de multiples reprises pendant son cycle de vie.  Notre rôle sera entre autres de concevoir des matières et des applications permettant une récupération, une réutilisation et une recyclabilité accrues.

Nous devons aussi penser mondialement.  Ni le Canada ni tout autre pays du G7 ne contribue de manière significative aux déchets de plastique dans les océans.  Les principaux responsables ont besoin d’une aide technique et financière d’urgence pour avoir accès à des services de gestion des déchets modernes et efficients, que nous tenons largement pour acquis au Canada.

Au Canada et dans les autres pays du G7, nous devons considérer le plastique différemment et arrêter de le voir comme un déchet qui doit être éliminé.  L’industrie de la chimie est prête à relever ce nouveau défi.