Fresh produce group addresses plastic waste in Canada

June 10, 2019
Written by Canadian Produce Marketing Association
Plastic packaging is currently the subject of significant debate, both here in Canada and globally.

From a G7 perspective, efforts to address plastics are already underway with the June 2018 commitment to the Ocean Plastics Charter. The charter included commitments to work with industry to achieve significant reduction and recyclable goals by 2030/40. In Canada, this led to commitments from the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) to work together to address plastic waste.

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) Plastic Packaging Working Group convened its first meeting to begin the process of identifying a path forward to address the use of plastics within the produce sector, identify efforts already undertaken by industry and determine best practices and develop an industry-supported roadmap to maintaining food quality and safety while reducing the environmental impact of plastics. Phase one of the work will include the required data collection to frame the situation within our sector. This research will include consumer perception reviews, landscape review (industry practices, regulatory requirements and efforts around the globe), and industry consultations focused on product design, single use plastics and collection systems.

In addition, it has been noted in the Canadian Strategy on Zero Plastics that “Achieving the vision of a circular economy for plastics will require that actions be taken in many areas, in some cases to enhance current performance, and in others, to transform and adopt new practices and behaviours.” CPMA, with the support of its members and allied partners, hopes to support efforts within our sector to ensure we have a vision based on sound science and business best practices that allows the opportunity for the produce industry to identify, prioritize and implement systems-wide changes.

The group will meet again in early July 2019 to review the data and determine objectives moving forward around:
• Identifying the challenges and opportunities facing the produce industry, as well as its relative importance in reducing total plastic waste in Canada and globally.
• Investigating new opportunities: innovations which can support the elimination of unnecessary and problematic single use plastics.
• Ensuring plastics within the produce sector are reusable, recyclable or compostable, with a notable attention to the need for increased/improved recycling opportunities.
• Best communicating the trade-offs between ensuring food quality and safety and minimizing the environmental impacts of plastic packaging (Source: Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste, Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment – Nov. 2018).

Twenty-three CPMA member companies are participating in the working group; among those companies are:
  • Costco Canada
  • Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.
  • Earth Fresh Foods
  • Federated Co-operatives Limited
  • Fresh Advancements/Freshline Foods
  • Global Citrus Group Inc.
  • Highline Mushrooms
  • Hydroserre Inc. (MIRABEL)
  • Loblaw Companies Ltd.
  • Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc.
  • Markon
  • Metro Inc.
  • Mucci International Marketing Inc.
  • Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG)
  • OPPY (The Oppenheimer Group)
  • Sinclair
  • Taylor Farms
  • The Ontario Food Terminal
  • The Star Group
  • Veg Pro International Inc.

Questions or comments? Email greenhouse@annexweb.com

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