1st Forum on Curbside Recycling Optimization brings together more than 200 key players

Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ) held the very first Quebec forum on curbside recycling optimization today. More than 200 players involved in the field, including packaging manufacturers, contributing companies, municipal representatives, collection and sorting operators, conditioners/recyclers, equipment providers, government officials and representatives of European organizations, got together to exchange ideas, share their experience and inspire new practices.

“The curbside recycling industry must constantly evolve in order to adapt to current and future challenges and realities. The forum was designed to rally curbside recycling players around concrete solutions so that the greatest quantities of high quality recyclable materials are recovered at the lowest cost per tonne,” said Maryse Vermette, ÉEQ’s President and CEO.

From left to right: Louise Fecteau, manager, Away-from-Home recovery program, Benoît de Villiers, President and CEO, RECYC-QUÉBEC, Réjean Pion, General Manager, Régie intermunicipale d’Acton et des Maskoutains, Johnny Izzy, General Manager, Gaudreau Environnement and Jean-Sébastien Cloutier, journalist, Radio-Canada.

During the morning session, participants were presented with a portrait of curbside recycling in Quebec and listened to a panel on the issues and challenges of developing a more effective system. A KPMG/Secor expert then presented the highlights of an analysis recently conducted in cooperation with ÉEQ to identify and prioritize avenues for optimizing the system. At the luncheon conference, Joachim Quoden, Managing Director of EXPRA, an association of more than 20 eco-organizations of which ÉEQ is a member, gave a presentation on key factors in the success achieved by European eco-organizations drawn from their 20 years of experience in extended producer responsibility. Forum participants then took part in themed workshops to examine possible solutions to the challenges faced by Quebec’s curbside recycling industry.

“ÉEQ organized this event to highlight the importance of curbside recycling and urge involved players to go even further by finding ways to optimize the system. The status quo is not an option for the future. Along with key players in the system, we are striving to build a curbside recycling business model that reflects Quebec’s reality and respects sustainable development principles,” commented Denis Brisebois, Chairman of ÉEQ’s Board of Directors.

“We have all the talent needed to implement indispensable changes not only to ensure we maintain a quality industry, but also make it the best performing system in North America from economic, environmental and social standpoints,” concluded Ms. Vermette.

Concrete and innovative solutions to improve the system

The day wrapped up with discussions on innovative solutions to optimize the current curbside recycling system, and a call to action urging all partners to do their part in moving forward.

A number of ideas were offered:

  • Recyclable materials recovery must be easy for residents to understand.
  • By improving the quality of materials placed in recycling bins, everyone wins.
  • Municipalities have a clear interest in sharing their best practices.
  • Sorting centres can adapt, modernize and contribute to adding value to recycling bin contents, and government support is necessary to implement those improvements.
  • Regional, and perhaps provincial planning would result in greater optimization of collection and sorting operations.

“As Co-Chair of the Comité-conseil sur les matières résiduelles (advisory committee on residual materials), I will present a report on this conference to the committee. Today’s discussions will certainly provide food for thought as we formulate recommendations to David Heurtel, Minister of Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques,” concluded Ms. Vermette.