Solid Waste & Recycling Magazine


Montreal renews polystyrene recycling pilot

Montreal is taking another shot at recycling #6 polystyrene containers, this time with the help of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.

The catch is that consumers will have to thoroughly clean the insulative containers and then transport them out to a single location — the LaSalle Ecocentre (7272, rue Saint-Patrick) — for processing. This includes foam coffee cups, egg containers, trays used for fruits and vegetables, and styrofoam packaging from electronic products.

The Post-Consumer Polystyrene Recycling Pilot Project runs until September 30, 2014. It will run for four seasons, which will make the project more efficient and provide more complete data.

But it won’t be Montreal’s first venture into polystyrene recycling. A similar program ran in Montreal throughout the summer of 2011, when Montrealers were asked to return the #6 polystyrene containers to Eadie Ecocentre in Montreal’s South West borough. That program achieved enough success to warrant the additional, longer pilot project, the city says.

“Contrary to some preconceived ideas, polystyrene is 100 per cent recyclable and other provinces such as Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia have already set up initiatives to this end,” says Paul Aucoin, Membership Development at CPIA. “By bringing their postconsumer polystyrene products to the Écocentre LaSalle, Montrealers, and especially those wo will be moving over the next few weeks, will be doing the responsible thing by diverting this material from the landfill sites and consequentlyallowing its recycling. We encourae all Montreal residents to be part of this activity and we congratulate them in advance forsupport of this important project from an environmental standpoint.”

While the current depot drop-off system is not the most convenient option, at least compared to curbside pickup, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) hopes it will the drop-off model will eventually expand to other ecocentres in the city, if only to reduce travel distances.     

“The objective is to find an economical and sustainable environmental solution to the collection and recycling of post-consumer polystyrene, thereby diverting this material from landfills,” explains Paul Aucoin, director of Business Development at the CPIA. “The main challenges lie in the collection of clean polystyrene, in an economical transportation system, and then in the recycling of the polystyrene into new manufactured products,” added Aucoin.

After the foam is dropped off and sorted at the LaSalle Ecocentre, it will be shipped to a recycling centre in Granby, Quebec. According to CPIA, the containers will be recycled by Quebec company Polystyrene Recyc Plus and made into new articles such as insulating boards, cushion packaging, and other finishing construction products made by firm polyform. Hard polystyrene or foam polystyrene can also be recycled into multiple practical or decorative products: picture frames, coat hangers, office supplies, cornices and moldings in buildings, food packaging, etc.

According to CPIA, Quebec industry produces 50 per cent of the foam polystyrene trays used in Canada.

The pilot project is made possible through the financial contribution of CPIA and their members, including the Quebec firms Cascades, Dyne-a-pak and Aliments Ultima, as well as the City of Montreal.