MISSISSAUGA, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - The Canadian Polystyrene Recycling
Association (CPRA) has suspended operations and is now seeking other more
flexible solutions to ensure that the product continues to be diverted from
the waste stream.
CPRA is an association dedicated to the processing of post-consumer
polystyrene and marketing of these recycled resins to manufacturers in Canada
and the U.S. Polystyrene is 100-per-cent recyclable and good markets exist for
recycled polystyrene resins.
"Our challenge has been that we're an industry association. To succeed
today, you have to be entrepreneurial and highly adaptive to changing market
conditions," said Roman Talkowski, Chair of CPRA.
CPRA's members - resin producers, product manufacturers, distributors and
end-users of polystyrene products - have invested close to $7 million in
recycling equipment since commencing operations in 1991. Over that period,
CPRA has had to contend with high fixed costs, single material (polystyrene)
dependence, as well as blue box volumes that fall well short of capacity.
With Toronto planning to accept polystyrene in its blue box program
sometime in 2008, CPRA believed that the additional 1,500 tonnes would go a
long way to ensuring its sustainability. In anticipation of these higher
volumes, it spent $300,000 on new state-of-the-art sorting equipment earlier
"But then the U.S. dollar took a nose dive, and like many other Canadian
manufacturers, this has had a very negative impact," Talkowski explained.
Plastics recycling is a North American market trading in U.S. dollars. The
weaker currency south of the border resulted in a 30-per-cent decline in
revenue for CPRA.
"Even though we had made a significant investment, we couldn't hold on
until Toronto's volumes kicked in. We became a victim to timing. We simply
cannot continue to sustain the operation," Talkowski said.
CPRA has had a meeting with its financial advisors to determine the best
course of action to limit the financial exposure of all parties involved. CPRA
has suspended operations and has filed a Notice of Intention to File a
Proposal. CPRA is already working with others in the industry to try to put in
place a more viable polystyrene recycling operation responsive to market
forces and, therefore, more competitive than the Association business model.
A short-term approach is to find brokers who will take the recycled
materials. Ultimately, the goal is to have CPRA's equipment purchased by and
integrated into an established plant where polystyrene recycling is part of a
more comprehensive recovery program.
"We believe that a different business model can succeed and that
polystyrene recycling has a strong future," said Talkowski. The market for
polystyrene and recycled plastic products in North America is currently
growing at 14% a year.
"We will do everything we can to transition to a recycling option that is
more responsive to indirect market forces and therefore more competitive."
Established and funded by a number of resin producers, product
manufacturers, and end-users of polystyrene products, CPRA began recycling
operations at its plant in Mississauga in 1991. Polystyrene post-consumer
material is received from industrial and commercial sources. Municipal
curbside programs also contribute a portion of the feedstock. CPRA markets its
recycled polystyrene resins to plastics converters, throughout Canada and the
United States, who manufacture a variety of goods including horticultural and
office supplies and decorative products.
For further information:
For further information: Rachel Sa, PR POST, (416) 777-0368