Federal government provides millions to companies working on ways to cut plastic waste

The federal government will give $1 million each to three companies developing technologies to address plastic waste from food packaging and construction.

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced the winners of his government’s plastics innovation challenge, which is part of its plan to ban many single-use plastics by 2021.

Montreal-based Axipolymer Inc. will create a recyclable food packaging film, while GreenMantra Technologies in Brantford, Ont., will transform polystyrene insulation waste into new insulation and MgO Systems from Calgary will use PVC construction waste to make new insulating materials.

Wilkinson told the Globe 2020 business summit in Vancouver that the government is launching six new plastics challenges and three clean technology challenges.

Those challenges call on innovators to develop solutions to a number of problems related to plastic pollution including finding alternatives to packaging, diverting plastic from junked vehicles from getting into landfills, reducing e-waste and monitoring microplastics in marine environments.

The minister says boosting clean technology development is part of his government’s approach to achieve a future with zero plastic waste.

“Plastic is a growing threat to Canada’s environment and we need to act to reduce plastic pollution,” he says. “Today’s announcements are about tapping into Canada’s incredible potential to change how we produce, how we use and how we recover plastic waste.”