Extended producer responsibility (EPR) at the core of an effective system

Curbside collection and recycling

In the midst of the recyclable materials markets downward spiral, western countries seeking sustainable solutions are now finding themselves in a tight spot. This month, the companies that fund curbside recycling in Québec will find out that their contributions will increase significantly in order to address current challenges including the dramatic drop in the value of materials—the impacts of which now reach tens of millions of dollars.

It is important to remember that the companies that place containers, packaging and printed matter on the market in Québec reimburse 100% of the net costs of municipal recycling programs through Éco Entreprise

From payers to key players

Fortunately, there are concrete solutions to radically transform Québec’s recycling industry and make it a model of circular economy. Indeed, beyond the funding for curbside recycling they already provide, companies must be responsible for the materials they place on the market within an extended producer responsibility (EPR) framework. We have determined four essential factors for a successful transition:

– Packaging ecodesign as the norm: the manufacturing of ecodesigned packaging made from recyclable recycled materials with no overpackaging;

– A comprehensive, integrated and transparent approach and constant preoccupation with quality for all stakeholders—citizens, municipalities, sorting centres, recyclers and companies—in every step of the value chain;

– The development of local and neighbouring recyclable materials markets, since sorting aims to provide materials with a new life as locally as possible and thus limits greenhouse gas emissions;

– Greater roles and responsibilities for companies, beyond the funding they already provide, in the organization of the system and management of the materials by creating a partnership with the municipal sector and recognizing the expertise of Québec sorting centres. A new partnership will lead to adapted and innovative solutions and help communicate accurate information to citizens to restore their confidence in recycling. A broad approach that involves the greater accountability of companies begins with informed citizens with sound sorting habits.

In Québec, thousands of companies have been proudly financing recovery for years. Now that we have laid the groundwork, we must ensure they take their place at the core of the system and work to make curbside recycling in Québec a model that is recognized for its performance throughout the world.

Maryse Vermette
President and Chief Executive Officer
Éco Entreprises Québec