Non-profit organisation the Circular Innovation Council has announced a new reuse programme to combat single-use plastic waste in Canada.  

This initiative, claimed to be the first of its kind in the country, has been developed in partnership with domestic grocery retailers Metro, Sobeys, and Walmart Canada, as well as the Government of Canada.

The programme will commence with the launch of a reusable food container pilot in the city of Ottawa in mid-2024. 

During the Ottawa pilot, consumers will be able to purchase select food items in reusable containers at no additional cost from participating grocery stores and food service locations.  

The pilot will offer various convenient return options for the containers, including local drop-off points., a technology service partner, will facilitate the smart return bins and track the containers’ journey through the cleaning and redistribution processes.  

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The programme’s stakeholders will collaborate to share the ownership of containers, ensure adherence to sanitation and food safety standards, and manage transportation and logistics.  

The development aims to showcase scalable, convenient, and enduring alternatives to single-use plastic packaging through innovative reuse models. 

Circular Innovation Council executive director Jo-Anne St Godard said: “Reuse is a critical pathway to transitioning Canada to a circular economy and to eliminating single-use plastics.  

“The cooperation and collaboration between our participating grocery retailers and the Government of Canada is truly unique and demonstrates their commitment to addressing the plastic waste crisis. Canadians have voiced their environmental and cost concerns around the plastic crisis and are wanting innovative solutions.”