In a way that’s eerily similar to the situation in Ontario, Quebec’s liquor board (SAQ) is refusing to place wine and liquor bottles in a deposit-refund system, even though most of the bottles in the province end up in the garbage and not in recycling bins.
La Presse has reported on a confidential report by Recycling-Quebec that says the government is reluctant to force the liquor board to add a deposit to bottles because SAQ pays millions of dollars each year to the recycling agency.
The SAQ sells 147 million bottles of wine and liquor each year. About 25 per cent end up in green boxes. In other provinces, as many as 80 per cent of bottles are recycled.
Deposit-refund systems offer the advantage that many of the the bottles could be kept intact and refilled by domestic producers. Also, the glass cullet could easily be kept separate for color (clear, green, brown, mixed) so that more glass could be recycled bottle-to-bottle and not end up being “downcycled” into low-value aggregate for construction in such things as road bes within landfills, which some people don’t consider true recycling.
Owens-Illinois subsidiary O-I Canada recently commented on this issue and offered in-depth analysis in a document posted on this website under Posted Documents. (Also see the recent O-I Canada news item.)