In the wake of the recent articles and reports on glass recycling, Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ) would like to add key information in order to provide an overview of the current situation that is as comprehensive as possible.
The glass recycling rate of 14% that has been stated in the media was taken from a 2015 waste management report by RECYC-QUÉBEC. The situation has changed for the better in the past three years, but a great deal of work still lies ahead.
To accurately present the current situation, the following elements must be taken into account.
- In 2016, ÉEQ announced the implementation of the Innovative Glass Works plan.
- Since September 2017, five Québec sorting centres have been conducting pilot projects and already installed new glass sorting equipment (Québec, Gaspésie, Chaudières-Appalaches and Lanaudière).
- The initial results are very positive: the average purity of the glass in the five sorting centres is 97%, which is an exceptional improvement compared to previous years.
- All the glass processed by the five sorting centres is recycled and used in new applications. It is not sent to landfills as cover material.
- The glass accounts for 25% of all the glass collected through curbside recycling in Québec.
- In addition to this 25%, another 25% of the glass that is collected is sold to conditioners by other Québec sorting centres for an estimated total of approximately 50% of glass now being recycled in Québec—a figure that far exceeds the 14% that has been reported.
- A follow-up committee made up of representatives from ÉEQ, RECYC-QUÉBEC, the industry and socioeconomic and environmental groups is currently analyzing the results of the Innovative Glass Works plan and will make appropriate recommendations when the experimental period ends, in fall 2018. In addition to the pilot projects, the future sorting centre on the island of Montréal has already planned to integrate a glass sorting and cleaning system that ÉEQ will provide. The sorting centre, which will be the largest of its kind in Québec, is slated for 2019. It is expected to bring about a significant increase in the glass recovery rate.
The Innovative Glass Works plan also includes a component that aims to support research into new local outlets. A number of promising projects are already underway, and public announcements will be made in due course.
“We are well on our way to resolving Québec’s glass issue, though much work still lies ahead. Minister Melançon has delivered the right messages by reiterating the importance she places on the quality of the material, the development of local markets, the circular economy and the modernization of the compensation plan with the addition of quality and traceability criteria for the material after sorting. Éco Entreprises Québec is already hard at work on these focuses and has invested over $10M in the Innovative Glass Works plan as a concrete expression of its commitment.”
– Maryse Vermette, president and chief executive officer, Éco Entreprises Québec
Jacques A. Bouchard
Éco Entreprises Québec
514 987-1491, ext. 247