Canada has made a leap forward in consumer packaging waste diversion. Today, a cutting edge recycling line was launched at Groupe RCM's recycling facility in Québec; a local project that's part of a larger industry strategy to optimize end-of-life carton management in Canada.
The launch is the end result of a three-year development and represents a $3.5 million investment, spearheaded by Tetra Pak as part of its larger, aggressive national recycling plan. Tetra Pak and its corporate partners A. Lassonde Inc., and Natrel, along with Québec government corporation Recyc-Québec collectively provided Groupe RCM with $1 million in seed capital.
The new recycling process, the first of its kind in the world, breaks down carton, plastic bag and film waste into a thermoplastic resin which will be used in industrial and commercial manufacturing.
The line accepts all gable top and aseptic cartons, as well as plastic shopping bags and cellophane films from sorting centres in the Québec market. A thermokinetic process uses high-speed knives to homogenize disparate waste materials into plastic granules that can later be used for making a wide variety of plastic products including: flower pots, railway ties, guard rail posts, pallets and plastic lumber. The process is waste-free, converting all elements, including straws, caps and other plastic attachments, into plastic granules.
"We're proud of the innovation and collaboration that took place amongst all of the partners we worked with to make this project a reality," said Yvon Picotte, President, Groupe RCM. "It's a smart and efficient way to transform post-consumer paper and plastic containers into useful, everyday goods; and it has created 25 local jobs in Yamachiche, including several positions designated for people with physical or cognitive disabilities. Our new recycling line is a win-win-win situation."
"The new line in Yamachiche is an important local enhancement to the recycling solutions we have in place in Canada and worldwide. It is important to us that we create new solutions to improve the recycling rates of our cartons and by collaborating with the Canadian recycling industry we can develop new technologies," said Santiago Fourcade, Managing Director of Tetra Pak Canada. "We know that by investing in the facility we are creating new solutions, not just for the lifecycle of Tetra Pak cartons, but for all Canadians."
This investment aligns with the greater awareness and concern that Canadians have for recycling in general. According to an EKOS survey commissioned by Tetra Pak, more than 80 per cent of Canadians feel recycling is worth the effort(1). The same survey indicates over 70 per cent of Canadians check to see if an item is recyclable before disposing.
"The launch of this locally-developed recycling line is a testament to the vision, creativity and know-how of all the partners," said Jean Gattuso, Chief Operating Officer Lassonde Industries Inc. and President and Chief Executive Officer of A. Lassonde Inc. "This project aligns perfectly with our mission to produce and market food products that by their quality and variety contribute to the enjoyment and wellness of consumers."
"We are a major user of Tetra Pak packaging for our Oasis juice brand and also for our Bistro Mundo and Arte Nova wines, among others," continued Gattuso. "Our firm is committed to being a leader in environmental performance and this technological breakthrough enables us to meet our customer's demand for containers whose ecological footprint is small."
"We're proud to be associated with this initiative. Environmentally, it provides our industry with more options and a new carton recycling end-market to Quebec", said Mr. Serge Paquette, President, Agropur Division Natrel.
"Launching this new line of multilayer container and plastic bag processing has allowed us to fulfill a specific need in Quebec's recycling industry. This technological breakthrough has also made it possible for RECYC-QUÉBEC to complete various other projects, including the Recyclable Bag Certification Program and the Separate Collection Chart of Recyclable Materials, which encourages municipalities to include multilayer containers and plastic bags in their separate collection," says Mrs. Ginette Bureau, CEO of RECYC-QUÉBEC.