The Plastics Innovation Challenges make up part of Canada's bid to tackle plastic waste, with the government already pledging to ban some single-use plastics by 2021


Canada's government has reaffirmed its pledge to ban single-use plastics (Credit: Pixabay)

The Canadian government has announced the winners of its Plastics Innovation Challenges.

Three recipients will each receive 1m Canadian dollars (C$) ($754,400) over a two-year period, with the money being used develop prototypes designed to tackle plastic waste in the food packaging and construction sectors.

The Plastics Innovation Challenges was set up by Innovative Solutions Canada, a government-run investment scheme looking to aid the development of new technologies across a range of sectors.

It has launched 14 plastics challenges to date, committing to putting about C$19m ($14m) into start-ups, and small and medium-sized businesses in the country.

Speaking at Canadian business summit GLOBE 2020, the country’s minister for the environment, Jonathan Wilkinson, said: “Clean technology must be part of the solution to plastic pollution.

“Boosting clean technology development to address plastic pollution is part of our comprehensive approach to achieve a zero plastic waste future.

“The Government of Canada has committed nearly C$19m ($14m) to fund Canadian innovators through the Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenges initiative, which results in real, Canadian-made solutions.”


What do the start-ups involved in the Canadian Plastics Innovation Challenges do?

The businesses receiving funding as part of the Plastics Innovation Challenges include the Montreal-based Axipolymer, which aims to create a recyclable multi-layer film that can be used in food packaging.

Set-up by Dr Ata Zad in 2017, the company wants to improve the material’s design without compromising food safety and other functionalities.

Plastics Innovation Challenges
Montreal-based firm Axipolymer is looking to create a recyclable multi-layer film that can be used in food packaging (Credit: Pixabay)

GreenMantra Technologies is looking to create a closed-loop recycling system in the construction industry, focusing specifically on insulation.

It aims to take used polystyrene insulation and transform it into a new type of insulation product.

The third firm to receive funding, MgO Systems, is also aiming to innovate within the construction industry.

It intends to do this by taking PVC waste from building activities to develop fire-retardant insulation materials.


Canadian government launches nine more innovation challenges

Environment minister Wilkinson also launched nine new innovation challenges at GLOBE 2020.

Through the Innovative Solutions Canada programme, it will fund small and medium-sized enterprises and innovators looking to tackle plastic waste.

The challenges include finding alternatives to plastic packaging, monitoring microplastics in marine environments, developing waste conversion techniques and reducing e-waste.

Plastics Innovation Challenges
Canada is looking for innovators developing technology that can monitor microplastics in marine environments (Credit: Pixabay)

Minister of innovation, science and industry Navdeep Bains said: “The government of Canada is using its purchasing power to help small businesses innovate and become more competitive.

“Through Innovative Solutions Canada, we’re accessing high-quality products that will help solve some of Canada’s most pressing challenges, while businesses are growing and creating good jobs.”