Plastics Thursday

Colourful plastic straws.

Since the 1950s 8.3 billion tons of plastic has been generated around the world and only 23 per cent of those plastics have been recovered or recycled. It is estimated that an additional 12 billion tonnes of plastic will be lost to disposal by 2050.

Plastics Thursday highlights how the circular economy can reduce the use and waste of plastics; motivate improved recyclability of plastic goods; and increase the value of recycled plastic by improving product design, use, and end of life management. On this day, we focus our recognition and celebration of champions that support the need to reduce plastic waste and are doing their part to take action.

Did you know that some shampoo bottles, shoes and other materials are being produced using plastic waste recovered from oceans? You can now build a deck with recycled plastic lumber and buy boots made from plastic water bottles. Join us on Thursday to learn more about how companies are turning plastic waste into a business opportunity.

Plastics Facts and Stats

Plastics Thursday highlights how the circular economy can improve plastic management along the value chain and reduce its waste, preventing it from entering the environment; motivate improved recyclability of plastic goods; and increase the value of recycled plastic by improving product design, use, and end of life management.

  • Make simple changes in your everyday life to reduce your plastic footprint. Every action counts.
  • Everyone has a role to play to reduce plastic waste and to tackle plastic pollution: governments, companies, the recycling industry, and individuals.
  • We all have a role to play to advance the circular economy for plastics in Canada: ongoing interaction between individuals, governments, and businesses can evolve a linear take-make-waste model of consumption to one that is circular and regenerative by design.
  • A circular economy for plastics uses less plastic material and designs products and packaging for longer life through reuse, effective recycling or composting and reduces plastic lost to disposal and the environment
  • A circular economy for plastics minimizes wasteful use of plastics; produces plastics from renewable resources powered by renewable energy; reuses and recycles plastics within the economy without any being lost to the environment; and minimizes or eliminates waste and emissions.
  • Using recycled or post-consumer resin plastic (PCR) as a resource for new product inputs displaces the need to create virgin plastic made from fossil fuels. This is a key aspect of the circular economy where the value of plastics at end-of-life are kept in the economy and never lost to disposal or the environment.
  • Engaging circular economy principles in product design and business models can avoid plastic waste.
  • Unrecovered plastics material represented a lost opportunity of CA$7.8 billion for Canada in 2016, based on the value of virgin resin material. This is the economic potential of improving plastics management and recycling.
  • Approximately 40% of the plastic produced each year is packaging, used once and thrown away.
  • Only nine per cent of the 3.2 million tonnes of plastic waste Canadians produce each year is recycled.
  • An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans each year—that’s the equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic every minute.
  • By 2050, it’s estimated there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, by weight.
  • The economic value of plastic lost to waste in Canada is $8 billion yearly and expected to increase to more than $11 billion by 2030.
  • In 2016, about 29,000 tonnes of plastic waste was littered into our environment in Canada – that is as heavy as almost 300 Blue Whales! Close to 10,000 tonnes of plastics enter the Great Lakes every year from Canada and the United States.
  • Worldwide, roughly 90% of new plastic products are made from fossil fuels.
  • Recycling 1 tonne of plastics prevents up to 2 tonnes of carbon pollution.

Visit the Plastic Action Centre

plastic action centre logo

The Plastic Action Centre in an independent open-source repository that gathers information to educate, engage, and empower action on plastics. Recycling Council of Ontario has developed the Plastic Action Centre to become a knowledge hub to provide governments, businesses, educators, researchers, and citizens the necessary scope of information to take meaningful action on plastics.

All plastics resources for Waste Reduction Week have been moved to Have a resource or news on plastics? Submit your materials to the Plastic Action Centre.