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Material continues to pile up as Montreal’s recycling crisis grows

Click to play video: 'What to do with Quebec’s ongoing recycling crisis' What to do with Quebec’s ongoing recycling crisis
WATCH: Recycling material is piling up and rotting at the Saint-Michel sorting centre as the city tries to figure out what to do with it. Tim Sargeant reports. – Jan 30, 2020

The amount of recyclable  material with no place to go continues to grow at the Saint-Michel sorting centre.

Bundles of paper, cardboard and other material are filling the site. It used to be exported to China and recycled there, but the country has refused to purchase Canadian products, claiming a lot of the recyclable paper was mixed with plastic, metal, glass and other “contaminates.”

READ MORE: Quebec’s recycling deposit program to include refunds for glass, plastic, metal bottles

“Nobody wants that. It’s all messed up,” Marc Fortin, president of the Quebec chapter of the Canadian Retail Council, told Global News.

The material piling up is exposed to the weather elements and is rotting and could now be worthless.

The fear is that it could all end up in the landfill.

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Click to play video: 'Quebec government expanding its recycling deposit system' Quebec government expanding its recycling deposit system
Quebec government expanding its recycling deposit system – Jan 30, 2020

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante insists she’s working with the environment minister to avoid that from happening, but she’s not making any promises.

“[The] conversation I’ve had with the Minister of Environment goes in the same direction,” she said.

When asked by Global News what will happen to the material if it’s of no value, the mayor replied, “We will find something.”

READ MORE: Material mounting outside sorting centre as Montreal deals with recycling crisis

There are no recycling plants in Quebec and the sorting centre at Saint-Michel is supposed to be shuttered within a couple of years and replaced with a new one in the east end of Montreal.

For now, it’s fully functional but considered antiquated.

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Click to play video: 'Material piles up at Montreal’s recycling centre' Material piles up at Montreal’s recycling centre
Material piles up at Montreal’s recycling centre – Jan 29, 2020

“They’re way behind the times. You have a bunch of people trying to pick up things on a belt going by on a fast pace,” Fortin said.

“They’re missing three quarters of the material going by.”

The centre is owned by the City of Montreal but is operated by a Canadian subsidiary of Groupe TIRU, a French firm.

Click to play video: 'Recycling plant shutdowns leave Montreal in crisis' Recycling plant shutdowns leave Montreal in crisis
Recycling plant shutdowns leave Montreal in crisis – Feb 1, 2020

A spokesperson for the company informed the city last week it plans to soon cease operations at the Saint-Michel sorting centre and at three others it operates in Quebec, including the only other one on of the island of Montreal in Lachine.

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Until the government and the city can figure out what to do with all the recyclable material being stockpiled at the sorting centres and finds someone to eventually operate them, the recycling crisis will continue.

Click to play video: 'Montreal’s recycling crisis persists' Montreal’s recycling crisis persists
Montreal’s recycling crisis persists – Jan 27, 2020

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