ÉEQ’s AGM – The circular economy of recyclable materials for a sustainable recovery

Montreal, April 29, 2020 – Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ), the non-profit organization representing thousands of companies in their responsibilities to finance the collection and sorting of recycling bin contents, held its Annual General Assembly (AGA) in online format today, with approximately 54 companies taking part remotely.

During the meeting, Mr. Denis Brisebois, Chairman of ÉEQ’s Board of directors, as well as Ms. Maryse Vermette, President & CEO and ÉEQ, spoke about the major projects of the past year and about the current health crisis, which will have long-term repercussions on all Quebec companies. Geneviève Dionne, Director of Ecodesign and Circular Economy, presented the organization’s outlook and main trends for the year to come, as well as an analysis on packaging ecodesign in the era of COVID-19. Ms. Édith Filion, Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee, presented the organization’s financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Seven board members were elected, including three new directors.

A new reality

With the current health crisis, we are closely monitoring changes on the production of containers, packaging and printed matter being placed on the market. Some companies have shut down while others are going full steam, and we realize that some of the packaging reduction measures taken by more and more companies who are concerned about their environmental footprint had to be halted due to concerns for health and safety. Online commerce, however, is booming and growing exponentially.

In this context, ÉEQ has implemented the following four main initiatives:

  • A technical watch of the pandemic’s impacts on deposit and curbside recycling systems in Quebec, elsewhere in Canada, in the US and Europe in order to share with our business partners and collaborators the principal conclusions over the coming weeks.
  • An analysis of the pandemic’s effects on consumer patterns (food, pharmacy, hardware) regarding home delivery and take-out restaurants, online purchases, including local products, etc. and the impacts on the influx of packaging in recycling bins (types of materials, contaminants and other materials, etc…).
  • An evaluation of impacts on contributing companies in order to implement mitigation measures for the 2020 Schedule of Contributions and future Schedules (measures regarding payment deadlines and changes regarding the production of containers, packaging and printed matter placed on the market during 2020).
  • Positioning regarding government strategies for economic recovery after Covid-19 through the implementation of programs for the development of local recyclables markets, as well as municipal, provincial and federal purchasing policies for products containing recycled content, and investments in recyclables sorting and processing technologies.

We are also working to ensure that the circular economy for recyclable materials is considered to be a driver of a sustainable economic recovery and of provincial autonomy.

Outlook for 2020 

At the start of 2020, the government of Quebec decided to tackle the ongoing recycling crisis by announcing a modernization of the curbside recycling system.

Indeed, quality issues with recovered and sorted materials, as well as the closure of materials recovery facilities, have had major consequences on our industry, in addition to breaking consumers’ trust regarding the recovery efforts they make every day. Furthermore, companies who are responsible for financing curbside recycling have had to endure an exceptionally high rate increase due to the increase of net costs for curbside recycling.

These many challenges have shown more than ever how essential it is to develop a new business model for curbside recycling, one based on increased responsibilities for companies so they may oversee the system and control the fate of containers, packaging and printed matter they place on the market. With Minister Charette’s February 2020 announcement to proceed with a reform of the curbside recycling system, it is important that companies rally to take part in the implementation of this reform based on extended producer responsibility, in partnership with municipalities. ÉEQ is working on setting up a broader committee on the modernization of curbside recycling that brings together members of the Board, representatives of companies and employer associations, who will also be called upon to serve with ÉEQ on working groups organized by RECYC-QUÉBEC, along with other partners in the system. 

In order to ensure proper organization of all parties, ÉEQ will hold a webinar for companies and employer associations on the modernization of curbside recycling next June. 

About Éco Entreprises Québec

Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ) is a private non-profit organization that represents companies who market containers, packaging and printed matter in Québec in their responsibility to finance the costs of effective and efficient municipal curbside recycling services.

As an expert, ÉEQ optimizes the curbside recycling value chain and implements innovative approaches with a view to sustainable development and circular economy.

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Marie-Claude Tremblay
Senior Advisor, Public Affairs
Éco Entreprises Québec
514 250-6442