Best Buy’s five-year-long drive to reduce its carbon footprint by at least 20 percent by 2020 was recognized as an unparalleled retailer achievement at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) White House ceremonies in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday night. The reduction is part of the company’s effort to address climate change. Thanks to a combination of an industry-leading energy management system, store lighting retrofit and improved fleet and distribution practices, Best Buy was commended for exceeding its goal and reducing emissions by 26 percent since 2010. The award was given at this week’s DOE Better Buildings Challenge Summit.
The Circular Plastics Taskforce (CPT) has completed the first phase of its efforts to implement a circular economy for plastics in Quebec and Canada. Officially launched in 2020, the CPT is a collaborative effort of organizations interested in finding concrete solutions to improve the management of post-consumer plastics. It brings together five major food, beverage and packaging companies in Canada (Cascades, Danone Canada, Dyne-a-pak, Keurig Dr Pepper Canada and TC Transcontinental), the Chemical Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) and Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ). The first phase of the CPT’s project was completed with the financial support of Environment and Climate Change Canada and ÉEQ, and the active support of several public and private organizations.
Phase I: Mobilize Industry Players
The objective of Phase I was to conduct a detailed mapping of the value chain of the plastics recycling industry in Québec, to determine market needs and to establish optimization hypotheses aimed at achieving the required specifications, following a reverse engineering approach. The work completed in this first phase consisted of five activities: 1) establishing an understanding of the situation in consultation with stakeholders; 2) analyzing potential markets; 3) establishing a profile of processors, recyclers and sorting centres; 4) developing a report, findings and recommendations, and; 5) setting up and carrying out simulation tests to validate the potential of the identified optimization paths.
Among the findings of Phase I and summarized in the White Paper launched today by the CPT, the work has demonstrated the relevance of mobilizing industry players and the opportunity created through better alignment of the market with other players in the value chain. There is a growing demand for recycled plastics, but it is not aligned with supply. A redesign of the value chain will therefore be essential, especially to maximize the collection of the different types of plastics in the right bale, according to the specifications of each resin. Finally, it will be important to address the important issue of residuals for plastic processors, to promote the use of recycled resin and to make it accessible (volume/quality) to support the development of dynamic local markets.
“Phase I allowed us to see that there are major challenges, but the opportunities and potential benefits are just as great. The findings will allow us to identify and implement concrete pilot projects in the short term. Our goal is that all plastics be recycled locally and that a solid market for recycled resins be established domestically. This project demonstrates that close collaboration between industry players and end markets can be beneficial and contribute to building a circular economy for plastics in Canada,” said the CPT steering committee.
Phase II to begin in Fall 2021: Deploying Concrete Solutions for Immediate Impact
The second phase of the CPT initiative will begin in Fall 2021. It will include the implementation of several pilot projects in sorting centres and at processing sites to quickly and concretely improve the quality of outgoing materials and the recycling rate of all plastic packaging. The goal is to enable the expansion of end markets for recycled plastics, within the context of extended producer responsibility’s (EPR) modernized curbside collection. The CPT is positioning itself as a catalyst for change towards the implementation of a circular economy for plastics.