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Feds invest $8.2M in local food packaging companies

Guelph-based Friendlier and Omnia Packaging receive $500,000 and more than $3.7 million respectively
A QR code on the back of the container can be scanned with the Friendlier app to get your deposit back.

The government of Canada is investing $8.2 million in three innovative food packaging companies intended to reduce plastic waste by scaling up and creating 120 new jobs. 

Guelph-based Friendlier and Omnia Packaging are among the three companies receiving funding, as well as Waterloo Region’s Unified Flex Packaging Technologies (UFPT). 

Five-hundred thousand will be going to Friendlier to help standardize its reusable takeout packaging system through a network of businesses across Canada. Since launching, the company has reused over 400,000 containers, diverting 23 tons of waste and reducing more than 67 tons of carbon emissions. 

The grant is meant to accelerate its growth and help support a circular economy, since the packaging can be cleaned and reused up to 100 times. It will also create 10 new jobs. 

Omnia Packaging will be receiving over $3.7 million to help purchase new equipment for the production of 100 per cent compostable and recyclable paper trays, and 100 per cent recyclable plastic trays for the food packaging industry. 

The investment will help other companies reduce plastic waste and will create 50 jobs. 

“With this $3.7-million investment, FedDev Ontario is boosting the project, allowing Omnia to purchase and operate the equipment earlier, creating jobs earlier than scheduled,” said Omnia CEO Paulo Sunino in a press release.

“This will also allow Omnia Packaging to introduce 100 percent sustainable packaging in the market for the harvest season of 2023 instead of 2024,” he said. 

Four million will be going to UFPT, which designs, manufactures and assembles packaging systems, like recyclable films, for the food and beverage sector.

With the investment, UFPT can increase manufacturing levels, saving over 87,000 lbs of plastic waste, decrease 470 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, and create more than 60 jobs. 

Canadians throw away three million tons of plastic waste every year – only nine per cent of which is recycled. The rest ends up in a landfill. 

By improving the management of plastic waste and investing in innovative solutions like these, the government is aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 1.8 megatons annually and to create 42,000 jobs by 2030.


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