Archived — Revolutionary Green Technology will bring Significant Benefits to Southern Ontario’s Economy and Environment

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For immediate release
February, 24, 2012

Kingston, Ontario — GreenCentre Canada will bring to market a revolutionary green technology to recycle materials such as polystyrene and contaminated plastic, thanks to a federal investment announced today by Daryl Kramp, Member of Parliament for Prince Edward – Hastings, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

"The unique technology being developed by GreenCentre in partnership with Switchable Solutions Inc. will increase competitiveness for the plastic and recycling industries in southern Ontario, diversify the economy, and create jobs," said MP Kramp. "Our government is proud to support such an innovative project that will transform waste into products that can be re-used."

GreenCentre Canada will receive up to $5,480,000 to bring to market a new green technology to find new commercial uses for plastic and polystyrene products, such as take-out containers, coffee cups, and meat trays, which are piling up in landfills. Currently, there is no energy efficient, environmentally-friendly and commercially viable method to recycle these types of materials. This new technology will also allow the contaminants found in used plastic containers, such as residual oil found in discarded engine oil containers at gas stations, to be recovered and re-used. This project presents an opportunity to create a new market for recycling materials economically in southern Ontario and beyond, and establish the region as a leader in this field.

"This funding is timely, given increasing industry and consumer demand for smarter, more effective green processes," said Dr. Rui Resendes, Executive Director of GreenCentre Canada. "The really exciting thing about this technology is its potential to enhance the sustainability of a myriad of manufacturing industries across Canada and around the world that provide us with the products and services that underpin our daily lives. It is the essence of what Green Chemistry represents."

The contribution is being provided through FedDev Ontario's Technology Development Program, designed to encourage the public and private sectors to collaborate on the development of large-scale, advanced technologies that will result in new market opportunities for southern Ontario.

For more information on GreenCentre and the funded project, please refer to the backgrounder.

The investment announced today supports the Government of Canada's science, technology and innovation agenda, which is focused on increasing the country's productivity, creating jobs and growing the economy.

Created in 2009, FedDev Ontario supports the southern Ontario economy by building on the region's strengths and creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to encourage partnerships and support projects that help the region's businesses and communities become more competitive, innovative and diversified. To learn more, please visit or call 1-866-593-5505.

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For more information, contact:

Stephanie Thomas
Special Assistant – Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario


About GreenCentre Canada

GreenCentre Canada is a national centre of excellence for commercialization and research. It brings leading green chemistry researchers, international industry partners and commercialization expertise together, all under one roof, with a common goal of advancing green chemistry innovations out of the lab and into the marketplace.

GreenCentre Canada is dedicated to developing environmentally-friendly alternatives to traditional chemical and manufacturing products and practices. The centre is located at the Innovation Park at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Contribution to GreenCentre Canada

FedDev Ontario is providing GreenCentre Canada with a non-repayable contribution of up to $5,480,000 through FedDev Ontario's Technology Development Program to bring to market a revolutionary green solvent technology that will find new commercial uses for previously unrecyclable materials such as polystyrene and contaminated plastic.

Plastics and polystyrene products, such as take-out containers, coffee cups, and meat trays, are widely used in southern Ontario and throughout North America. Plastic containers of oil are purchased at gas stations by the millions every year across the continent. Once used, these items are difficult to recycle because they have come into contact with contaminants such as food particles, dirt, and oil. Traditional processes of using solvents to separate the plastic from the contaminants require a high volume of heat and energy and are expensive. As a result, the majority of these products are not recycled or re-used.

GreenCentre Canada has developed a new solvent-based industrial separation technology called "Switchable Hydrophilicity Solvent" that allows for these polystyrene and plastic materials to be cleaned and recycled with minimal energy use. The process involves separating contaminants from the plastics and adding in carbonated water to isolate the clean plastic. This can then be subsequently recycled and sold to manufacturers to create new consumer products. The solvent and water can also be separated after each use, and re-used time and time again.

GreenCentre is collaborating with Switchable Solutions Inc., a clean technology spin-off company that was created in 2011 to bring this new technology to market.

With the first phase of federal funding, GreenCentre will build demonstration facilities for test trials and validation activities of this revolutionary environmentally-friendly solvent technology, to enable it to become ready for industrial use.

Federal funding for the completion of the second phase of this project, which includes using the technology to extract bitumen from oil sands and oil sands tailings, is contingent upon GreenCentre securing the balance of funds required to meet FedDev Ontario's project conditions.

Technology Development Program

The Technology Development Program will strengthen southern Ontario's economy by providing financial support to accelerate bringing innovative and transformative technologies to the global market.

Through the program, FedDev Ontario is investing in projects that will significantly contribute to the development of globally-competitive, market-ready technologies with the potential to develop new business opportunities or benefits for an industry, sector or region in southern Ontario.

The Technology Development Program encourages the private and public sectors to collaborate on innovative, breakthrough technologies that are one to seven years from market.

Applications for funding are being accepted and assessed on an ongoing basis. For more information and to apply, please refer to the Program Guidelines available on the FedDev Ontario website at

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