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Innovative Solutions Canada launches series of challenges to inspire businesses to find ways to reduce plastics

As the single-largest purchaser of goods and services, the federal government is using procurement in a new way to help Canadian small business owners commercialize their ideas and solve complex government challenges.

Through the Innovative Solutions Canada program, government departments are inviting small businesses to come up with innovative solutions in response to specific challenges they face. Winning small businesses may receive up to $150,000 to refine their research and development and, if accepted into Phase 2, receive up to $1 million to develop a working prototype. The government may then act as a first customer, helping these small businesses commercialize their innovations, scale up their business and create good jobs.

Innovative Solutions Canada, through multiple government departments, has issued seven challenges around plastics:

  • Construction Waste – Innovative solutions are needed to increase the recovery, reuse and recycle of plastic wastes generated from construction activities.
  • Separation of Mixed Plastics – Effective solutions are needed to improve the separation, sorting, and processing of mixed plastics to produce high-quality recycled feedstocks and create opportunities for new markets.
  • Recycling of Glass Fiber-Reinforced Plastic – This challenge seeks novel, economically viable, and ecologically sustainable solutions for recycling or reusing glass fiber-reinforced plastic in a manner that is energy efficient and recovers as much material as possible (diverting from landfill).
  • Remove and Manage Ghost Fishing Gear and Marine Debris – Seeking a viable and economically feasible solution to remove plastic ghost fishing gear and other marine litter from aquatic environments through a technological innovation that can be deployed on existing vessels and infrastructure.
  • Food Packaging – Improve the design of film food packaging to reduce the generation and disposal of plastic waste.
  • Sustainable Fishing and Aquaculture Gear – This challenge seeks economically and technically viable innovations in fishing and aquaculture gear or gear-related technologies to reduce or eliminate ghost fishing and aquatic plastic pollution caused by Canadian fisheries and aquaculture industries
  • Improved compostibility of bioplastics – There is a need for greater compatibility of bioplastics (i.e. plastics derived from agricultural OR wood-based biomass) with home and municipal composting.

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