Windsor

'A bright future': New position looks at plastics and the environment

At Nova Chemical, a Sarnia-based company, they make ethylene and polyethylene, plastics commonly used in packaging, like cereal and bread bags.  So how does a company like Nova reconcile the value of plastics with environmental backlash?

Marshall says a focus of Nova's is to design plastic packaging with reusability in mind

The challenge of what to do with plastics after they're used is a shared responsibility — producers and users alike.  (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

In Lambton County, plastic is huge for the economy. 

Nova Chemical, a Sarnia-based company, makes ethylene and polyethylene, plastics commonly used in packaging, like cereal and bread bags. 

So how does a company like Nova reconcile the value of plastics with environmental backlash?

"That's part of the issue Nova is looking at trying to solve," said Sarah Marshall, Nova's recently-named director of sustainability.

The new position will look at addressing environmental concerns with plastic products.

"Plastics bring a tremendous amount of benefit to a society," said Marshall. "We don't [want] a situation where we have negative aspects of litter and plastics left in the environment."

Marshall said the challenge of what to do with plastics after they're used is a shared responsibility — producers and users alike. 

"In Canada, we have very good access to recycling in our communities," said Marshall. "I'd encourage everybody to learn how to recycle."

According to Marshall, Nova "recognizes more now than ever" that the company needs to be more active in bringing a "better tomorrow." The new position will help the company boost efforts and community engagement to solve issues in the plastic versus environment debate.

Marshall said a focus of Nova's is to design plastic packaging with reusability in mind. 

"These are solvable challenges," said Marshall. "We see a bright future for our industry."

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