Sustainability Spotlight: Navigating the P2 Notice For Canada’s Grocery Retailers

This past summer, the Government of Canada announced a new initiative supporting its zero plastic waste commitment. The proposed Pollution Prevention Planning Notice (P2 Notice) for primary food packaging would require Canada’s grocery retailers to prepare and implement a pollution prevention plan that supports and promotes a circular economy. Grocers and manufacturers would be challenged to reduce, reuse, and redesign primary food plastic packaging, and shift away from using single-use and difficult-to-recycle plastics.

Grocery retailers, stakeholders, interested partners, and Canadians were given until August 30th to consult on the development of the new P2 Notice, but few updates have been released. Here’s what we know so far:

Understanding the P2 Notice

The P2 Notice is all about shifting the way we address environmental challenges. Unlike traditional solutions that focus on managing waste after the fact, the P2 Notice takes a proactive approach by targeting the source and implementing preventive measures to reduce waste, pollutants, and environmental harm caused by the production and disposal of food packaging materials.

This federal regulatory initiative focuses on minimizing environmental pollution caused by primary food packaging. It seeks to eliminate unnecessary or problematic plastic packaging, promote reuse-refill systems, and ensure that any plastic packaging used is designed to be reused, recycled or composted.

The P2 Notice involves a six-step approach:

  1. Commitment and Policy: Integrate the P2 Notice as an integral part of how a business operates.
  2. Baseline Review: Gather essential information to identify P2 Notice options.
  3. Planning: Assess options based on feasibility, environmental and cost effectiveness, and establish actions for implementation.
  4.  Implementation: Put the strategy into action by making changes in procedures, purchasing methods, inventory control, and training.
  5. Monitoring and Reporting: Continuously track performance, cost, savings, and progress.
  6. Review, Evaluation, and Improvement: Commit to ongoing for economic, human health, and environmental benefits.

Why is this Proposal Necessary?

Plastic food packaging makes up about one-third of all plastic packaging in Canada, a significant portion of which is intended for single use. The P2 Notice is another step in the commitment to address environmental sustainability and the prevalent use of single-use plastics in the food industry.

“Plastics play an important role in the everyday lives of Canadians. However, a significant amount of plastic food packaging is used only once and then ends up in landfills as waste, or in the environment as pollution,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

The Impact on Food Packaging

Manufacturers may be required to re-evaluate their packaging materials, processes, and disposal methods to comply with the proposed P2 Notice regulations. This could lead to the adoption of eco-friendlier materials, streamlined production processes, and enhanced recycling efforts.

What are the Next Steps?

As discussions around the P2 Notice proposal continue, it is essential to stay informed and understand the potential impact on your business. Here are three proactive steps:

  • Conduct a Product Assessment: Understand your current environmental impact by assessing your food packaging assortment. Identify areas where pollution prevention measures can be effectively implemented.
  • Talk to Sustainability Experts: Engage with experts who can provide insights tailored to your business, identify areas for improvement, suggest sustainable alternatives, and develop a plan for compliance with the P2 Notice.
  • Explore More Sustainable Packaging Solutions: Select sustainable packaging materials that align with the P2 Notice objectives and are fit for your business.

For a complete product assessment, including mapping of current products to appropriate, more sustainable alternatives, ask your Bunzl Grocery/Retail/Processor representative about our Material Footprint Assessment Tool. You can also ask us about EcoSystems, the more sustainable food packaging optimization system, designed to help you meet the latest and emerging sustainability legislation.

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