British Columbia is making strides in reducing plastic waste, cutting down on emissions and creating new clean-tech jobs through its CleanBC Plastics Action Fund.
The fund supports innovative projects aimed at reducing plastic pollution and changing the way plastic is designed and used in the province. The goal of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan is to move away from temporary and disposable plastic products to durable and reusable ones.
Phase 2 of the fund has provided over $8 million in funding to 14 new projects, with recipients divided into two funding streams.
“Our government has invested in 14 new, innovative projects and committed another $25 million to a third round of funding for the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund,” George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, stated recently.
“This added funding will strengthen our ability to prevent plastic pollution and reduce our use of virgin resources to make plastic products by turning used plastic into an economic asset instead of an environmental burden,” he added.
The first funding stream supports projects aimed at reducing plastic waste through reuse, while the second stream supports projects aimed at increasing the use of post-consumer recycled plastic through processing and manufacturing.
To date, more than $12.5 million in government funding has been granted to 23 projects, all of which must be completed by February 2024.
Funding recipients represent a diverse range of initiatives, from recycling plastic waste to creating 3D-printed modular houses made from up-cycled post-consumer plastic, to increasing the accessibility of reusable packaging in industrial, commercial and institutional organizations.
Regular readers of Techcouver will recognize recipients from both streams including Metaspectral, Fresh Prep, and Sharewares.
Recycling Funding Stream
Metaspectral in Vancouver receives $419,226 in program funding. The company will develop and install technology that automates the separation of plastic homopolymer HDPE (i.e., plastic milk containers) from other containers made of copolymer HDPE, with the aim of achieving greater than 90% sorting accuracy.
“Our technology uses deep learning to analyze hyperspectral imagery from specialized cameras placed over a conveyor belt carrying recyclables; the images captured contain information from across the electromagnetic spectrum, making it possible for our algorithms to identify materials immediately and sort them accordingly,” Migel Tissera, Metaspectral’s chief technology officer and co-founder, explained recently.
“It has historically been impossible for humans or traditional cameras to differentiate between plastics at this level, meaning that to date, various types of plastics have been recycled in bulk together,” added Metaspectral cofounder and CEO Francis Doumet. “When post-consumer recycled plastic cannot have its purity guaranteed, its quality and market value decrease significantly.”
Metaspectral, a software company advancing computer vision through deep learning and hyper-spectral imagery, recently joined Venture Catalyst Space, a commercial space incubator located at the University of South Australia’s Innovation & Collaboration Centre in Adelaide, funded by the South Australia Space Innovation Fund, The startup raised a seed round in 2022.
Advanced BioCarbon 3D in Rossland receives $514,703 in program funding. The funding will be used to support the production of affordable 3D-printed modular houses made from upcycled post-consumer plastic enhanced with bio-additives like lignin and hemp fibres, aiming to lower the cost of housing.
KC Recycling in Trail receives $900,000 in program funding. The funding will support the construction of a specialized plastic recycling plant that will accept plastic battery cases, car seats, and paint buckets, recycling 3,500 metric tonnes of polypropylene per year.
Ocean Legacy Foundation in Richmond receives $574,229.60 in program funding. The funding will address marine-plastic waste by increasing internal processing capacity, developing new processing capabilities, installing in-house testing facilities, and creating employment opportunities in rural and remote areas.
Plascon Plastics in Delta receives $509,691 in program funding. The funding will be used to create a threaded, tamper-evident, and child-proof bottle cap for the distilled spirit market, to be made from 100% recycled—and recyclable—material.
The Rogerie in Kelowna receives $70,000 in program funding. The company will build and launch a custom 3D printer capable of producing larger items. It will be used to manufacture and sell the first bathtub crafted entirely from recycled material.
Van WasteCo in Delta receives $720,000 in program funding. New equipment will increase post-consumer recycled plastic production capacity and produce recycled plastic products that can be used for a wider range of applications.
Vitacore in Port Coquitlam receives $900,000 in program funding. The funding will upgrade equipment and retrofit a building to serve as the hub of the company’s PPE recycling program. The factory will process 12 million masks and respirators per month.
Wenplastics in Delta receives $1,392,151 in program funding. The funding will increase the processing capacity of waste from the mining industry, pallet factories, and franchised supermarkets by 150%. Wenplastics is the only system in Western Canada that can process large industrial pipes.
Reuse Funding Stream
Fresh Prep in Vancouver receives $346,872.50 in program funding. The project funding will establish a sustainable, closed-loop system that supports their zero-waste food prep packaging. It will also reduce the use of single-use plastics and increase the use of post-consumer recycled plastics in their manufacturing and product line.
The company recently acquired Vancouver-based surplus grocery delivery service Peko, which launched in 2021.
Sharewares, selected to participate in the 2023 Google for Startups Accelerator Canada program, receives $302,127. Their project will upgrade the current washing facility to process more reusable products per day to meet the needs of big brands, festivals, and stadiums. The company will share learnings to serve as a model for other regions.
Eco Refillery in Vancouver receives $66,000 in program funding. The funding will be used to open a second zero-waste plastic refill store in Metro Vancouver.
Nada in Vancouver receives $300,000 in program funding. The project will develop and launch a new revenue stream of business-to-business sales, creating the opportunity to increase reuse in the business community.
Reusables in Vancouver receives $995,000 in program funding. The funding will increase the cleaning capacity and accessibility of reusable packaging in industrial, commercial, and institutional organizations, and food businesses in B.C., including remote and Indigenous communities. This will save seven tonnes of plastic waste and 23 tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions from entering the environment each month.
British Columbia is a leader in extended producer responsibility (EPR), where companies and producers are responsible for the collection and recycling of the products they create. Each year, 315,000 tonnes of plastics are captured in the province’s EPR programs.
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