Quebec has made a leap forward in consumer packaging waste diversion with the launch of a cutting-edge recycling line at Groupe RCM’s recycling facility in Yamachiche, Quebec; a local project that’s part of a larger industry strategy to optimize end-of-life carton management in Canada. For the first time anywhere in the world, cartons, plastic bags and films are broken down into a thermoplastic resin which will be used in industrial and commercial product manufacturing. The launch is the end result of a three-year development, and represents a $3.5 million investment, spearheaded by Tetra Pak as part of its larger, aggressive national recycling plan. Tetra Pak and its corporate partners A. Lassonde Inc. and Natrel, along with Quebec government corporation Recyc-Quebec, collectively provided Groupe RCM with $1 million in seed capital.
The recycling line accepts all gable top and aseptic cartons, as well as plastic shopping bags and cellophane films from sorting centres in the Quebec market. A thermokinetic process uses high-speed knives to homogenize disparate waste materials into plastic granules that can later be used for making a wide variety of plastic products including flower pots, railway ties, guard rail posts, pallets and plastic lumber. The process is waste-free, converting all elements, including straws, caps and other plastic attachments, into plastic granules. Over the next three years, Groupe RCM expects to reach a total yearly processing volume of 12,000 metric tonnes of waste, which is enough waste to fill more than 2,000 dump trucks. The technology was developed by the Centre de recherche industrielle du Quebec (CRIQ) in collaboration with Groupe RCM and Tetra Pak.