Guelph-area businesses specializing in reducing single-use plastics receive FedDev funding

Filomena Tassi, minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, and Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield joined Friendlier co-founders Kayli Dale and Jacquie Hutchings on a tour of the facility. Lianne Cassidy

Three local businesses specializing in reusable food packaging are sharing more than $8.2 million in funding from the federal government.

A Friendlier Company Inc. is getting $500,000 from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). The funding will be used to standardize its reusable takeout packaging system through a network of businesses across Canada.

Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield along with Filomena Tassi, minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, made the announcement Tuesday morning at Friendlier.

“It is a game-changer,” said Longfield. “I hope that it will help you expand across Canada and continue the fantastic work that you are doing.”

Kayli Dale, CEO and co-founder of A Friendlier Company, said the company is “so excited” to see its “vision become a reality.”

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“When (co-founder and COO) Jacquie (Hutchings) and I first started Friendlier, our vision was a world where packaging waste didn’t exist. All packaging could be collected, reprocessed and used again hundreds of times.”

Along with Friendlier, another Guelph-based company, Omnia Packaging, will receive $3.7 million to purchase new equipment that will allow it to produce compostable and recyclable paper trays and recyclable plastic trays for the food packaging industry. And Unified Flex out of Cambridge will get $4 million to enhance production capacity at its new Woodstock facility, allowing it to increase manufacturing of its recyclable films used for food packaging and pouches.

According to a news release, the new funding will create a total of 120 new jobs among the three businesses while reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills.

“As the MP for Guelph, I’m fortunate to represent many people and organizations like Friendlier and Omnia that are working hard to contribute to a cleaner, stronger economy for everyone,” Longfield said.

Dale says her company has already reused 450,000 plastic containers, which has led to the reduction of more than 14 tonnes of carbon emissions.

“Businesses and Canadians are ready for this change from single-use plastics,” said Dale. “We are so excited to receive this funding and be able to scale out and make that happen.”

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