Solid Waste & Recycling


Quebec glass recycling initiative waiting for regulation change

MONTRÉAL –An agreement to produce recycled glass products in Quebec is waiting on the Quebec government to ban any usage of glass in landfill sites.

According to an agreement in principle between manufacturer OwensIllinois of Montréal and conditioner Groupe Bellemare of Trois-Rivières, it will be possible to produce bottles from glass collected through curbside recycling. This new outlet for glass recycling in Québec is the result of efforts initiated by Éco Entreprises Québec under its Innovative Glass Works plan.

Beyond guarantees of feedstock, however, it will foremost require a change in Quebec regulations to stop using glass as cover in landfills. According to a statement issued by Éco Entreprises Québec with OwensIllinois and Groupe Bellemare, “the government of Québec must now put an end to the temporary solution that, for the past several years, has sent glass to landfills to be used as cover material”.

“Should the Ministre de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques announce that it is choosing to end this practice and fully support the glass recycling, we will work to secure our feedstock needed for the immediate investment, and our plant will be operational within a year, as per our discussions with OwensIllinois,” said Serge Bellemare, co-president of Groupe Bellemare.

It is important to note that this temporary measure was implemented in 2013 following the shutdown of conditioner Klareco and aimed to develop an additional market for sorting centres, which wound up with considerable glass surpluses.

“We are proud to have supported the approach leading to the agreement and back the request to the government to gradually ban the landfilling of glass and its use as a cover material, as outlined in our Innovative Glass Works plan,” said Maryse Vermette, president and CEO  of Éco Entreprises Québec.

“We believe that this call to action by a number of socioeconomic and environmental stakeholders is critical as we work to develop a genuine circular economy in Québec, regardless of the glass collection method.”

“We are extremely pleased with the agreement, which constitutes an important milestone in the development of our respective organizations and a major glass recycling breakthrough in Québec,” said Jim Nordmeyer, vice-president sustainability of OwensIllinois and Bellemare, in a statement.

Technical discussions on the quality of the glass required for remelting, optimal conditioning and colour-sorting equipment to install and supply conditions were led by the working group assembled by Éco Entreprises Québec. Groupe Bellemare now has a comprehensive business plan in hand and will be ready to make the investments required to purchase new equipment as soon as the supply guarantees are confirmed.

“We are looking forward to including Groupe Bellemare among our current suppliers of glass collected through the deposit system,” Nordmeyer said.

“This new supply of glass from curbside recycling will enable us to significantly increase the share of glass from Québec and meet the new needs of our clients, which are seeking a higher ratio of recycled glass in their bottles and containers. And that’s above and beyond the positive impact on employment at our Montréal plant.”

Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ) is a private non-profit organization representing the recycling interests of container, packaging and printed matter suppliers in Québec.