COVID-19 : A word from our CEO

Dear partners,

The crisis we are currently living through has generated an exceptional wave of solidarity throughout the community, particularly at companies represented by Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ). The worldwide repercussions of this crisis will certainly change our way of life and how we consume, and we will all have to adapt.

On March 23rd, the Quebec curbside recycling system, which is financed by companies, was recognized by the Quebec government as an essential service. We want to express our sincere thanks to the unsung heroes who make it work. Thanks to all the collectors, sorters and recyclers of bin materials who ensure that front-line services are maintained in spite of the crisis in various municipalities across the province. Their work, which is hard even under normal circumstances, has become even harder now.

Clearly, the COVID-19 pandemic has upset and will continue to upset economic activities and business models for a very large number of companies, as well as our consumption patterns. ÉEQ will continue to diligently document the impacts of this pandemic on recycling systems for containers, packaging and printed matter, both for curbside recycling and for the deposit, not only in Quebec, but also in North America and in Europe.

ÉEQ will also analyze the impacts of the pandemic on our consumption patterns regarding products and their packaging. Indeed, just think of take-out food containers, produce packaging, bulk food sold in supermarkets, online orders, etc… Going forward, how will our packaging reduction measures have to take into account the situation we’ve been going through for the last two months?

We will also analyze the impacts of COVID-19 on the Compensation plan, our fee structure, the generation and change of containers, packaging and printed matter put on the market during 2020, as well as contributing companies’ ability to pay, as we are seeing huge differences from one sector to another for the time being. Certain sectors have completely halted their activities, while others are booming. For the companies we represent, we are making sure that costs to be compensated are truly related to collecting, sorting and recycling materials, and not for landfilling.

We also wish to mention that our governments’ post-Covid-19 economic recovery strategies will have to take into consideration the notion of materials circularity in order to protect our resources and give consumed materials a new life.

During this particularly difficult time, ÉEQ is proud to represent companies who have deployed enormous efforts to be useful in this context.  A well-known company has provided the recycled plastic that is needed to make medical face shields; a local distillery halted its production in order to use alcohol to make a powerful hand sanitizer; in less than two weeks, a plastics recycler started designing washable gowns in partnership with a textile SME in order to address the gown shortage in Quebec hospitals. This is not to mention the numerous donations made to food banks and inspiring initiatives like the one launched by La Tablée des chefs. ÉEQ employees will also do their part by contributing to Moisson Montréal. ÉEQ will match every dollar donated by our employees using funds from our volunteer activities budget.

It should be noted that ÉEQ will exceptionally hold the Annual General Meeting of its member enterprises and organizations via interactive webinar on April 29. Financial statements as at December 31, 2019, as well as our activity report, will be presented. We will use the opportunity to share an analysis on packaging ecodesign in the era of COVID-19 and present our organization’s perspectives and general directions, including the work ÉEQ has undertaken in connection with the government of Quebec’s announcement to the effect that curbside recycling modernization will be achieved through increased company responsibility.

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind us that, as “blue bin pros” (“pros du bac”), let’s make sure to continue to sort our recyclable materials in order to protect these shadow workers who work tirelessly to maintain these essential services to the population.

Moreover, huge thanks go out to the health and social services workers, as well as to all workers in essential services in our municipalities, businesses and companies who continue to provide front-line services.  Let’s salute their awesome dedication!

Lastly, even though nearly half of the world population is on lockdown and it is impossible to get together, the Earth doesn’t take a break; so let’s have a thought about our planet on this Earth Day.

Maryse Vermette
President and Chief Executive Officer
Éco Entreprises Québec