The concept and advancement of a circular economy is not new for us at Emterra as it is what drives our business, but 87% of Canadians are unclear on what the circular economy actually is. Essentially, it is a new model of consumption where we design products that can be reused and reinvested into new products, over and over again!
While making small changes to everyday behaviours like cutting out plastic straws or grocery bags are critical, today’s climate and advancing the circular economy requires bigger, broader, and bolder changes.
The ultimate goal behind the circular economy is to preserve the value of finite resources the earth offers. Currently, we produce and consume products using a “take-make-waste" model where products are designed with a limited life span and diminish in value over time, only to end up in our landfills as waste. This model has proven to be unsustainable, as we are facing climate change realities globally.
Now, think of the circular economy model as more of a closed loop where manufacturers are incented to make longer lasting and more efficient products that are designed with durability, repairability, and reuse in mind. This model has the ability to improve the value of natural resources, reduce carbon emissions, and eliminate waste!
Bikes in BC: Starting in May 2022, a bike-reuse pilot program was implemented at the North Shore Recycling and Waste Centre which is operated by Emterra Environmental. Bicycles that may be repairable, or have salvageable components, are collected in a dedicated area to be picked up by third party contractors and professionally refurbished. Since its inception, we have collected 1175 bikes, of which 307 (26%) were either given away to kids (93) or refurbished and resold (214). Ride on!
Glasses Drive: A number of Emterra sites are participating in a Glasses Drive – employees can donate gently-used eyeglasses that will help improve the quality of life for children and adults living in low- and middle-income communities around the world. Many will experience corrected vision for the first time, enabling them to lead productive working lives, support their families, attend school and advance their education. Spec-tacular!
Canadian Liquids Processors (CLP): Our liquids processing division, Canadian Liquids Processors, provides environmentally-responsible product destruction for a variety of sugar- and alcohol-based liquid goods by converting these into ethanol - a renewable alcohol that can be used to manufacture a variety of useful products like windshield washer fluid and hand sanitizer - while the packaging is recovered and recycled. Even the building itself is a refurbished porcelain factory from the 1890s! Talk about seeing the glass half full!
Emterra Tire Recycling (ETR): Committed to preventing end-of-life products from being disposed of in our landfills or littered on our natural landscapes, ETR was founded in 2005 and has continued to make significant contributions to the circular economy of tires. ETR hauls and processes 99% of every tire that enters its facility and has become a leading supplier of crumb rubber in Canada, which is used to create new products such as pavers and flowerpots! We never tire of keeping rubber in circulation!
Ryse Solutions: Founded in 2018, Ryse Solutions is the first and only multi-material Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) in Ontario that operates across all five regulations of the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016, allowing producers to achieve compliance across multiple regulations (batteries, electrical equipment, tires, hazardous waste, blue box materials) through a “one-stop shop” approach. In fact, Ryse Solutions was originally founded to support ETR in building a strong, diverse network of clients for hauling, processing, and end-markets for tires and rubber.
HYRYSE: Created by Ryse Solutions in 2020, the HYRYSE program offers a circular economy solution to address the Canadian cannabis industry’s growing waste concerns. We partner with top Cannabis Retailers and Licensed Producers to collect and divert end-of-life cannabis packaging, vape pens and cartridges. All end-of-life materials are processed within Ontario. We are those friends in high places!
Canada Plastic Pact (CPP) Partner: Emterra Group and Ryse Solutions are both founding partners of the Canada Plastics Pact (CPP) - a cross-collaborative platform that unites diverse leaders and experts in the national plastics value chain to collaborate and rethink the way we design, use, and reuse plastic packaging to realize a circular economy for plastic in Canada.