The Quebec government is introducing new measures to improve its recycling system by placing more responsibility on companies when it comes to the waste management of their products.
Environment Minister Benoit Charette, who announced the decision on Tuesday morning, said the $30-million plan will also help support sorting centres and boost the public’s confidence in the province’s recycling system.
“It is a fundamental issue,” he said. “The way in which we recycle presently is a concern for the public and with reason.
“Therefore, we have to act seriously if we want to recuperate more and recycle better.”
Under the plan, producers of containers, packaging and printed matter will be responsible for a product throughout its entire life cycle. They will be in charge of the recovery, sorting, packaging and recycling of their products.
Businesses will have to meet the targets laid out by the government and face penalties if they fail to do so. The plan is expected to push companies to opt for more environmentally friendly materials.
The measures are a “concrete gesture” from the province when it comes to solving the recycling crisis and prioritizing the environment, according to Charette. The plan will also help modernize a recycling industry in trouble, he added.
The Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) said in a statement that it was rejoicing over the changes, which it proposed in recommendations to the province.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante told Global News she is pleased, but needs more details on how the program will be implemented.
“I’m glad that the partners, the ones that actually create some of those papers and plastic and glass, will be part of the solution,” she said.
Environmental organization Greenpeace Canada also welcomed the decision, saying it has long fought for extending responsibility to producers as a way to battle plastic pollution.
The David Suzuki Foundation applauded the reform, saying it promotes ecodesign among producers.
The Quebec government announced last month that it is expanding its recycling deposit system to include glass, plastic and metal bottles. The province said the changes will prompt better recycling and simplify the process for both the public and companies.
The new recycling program is set to come into effect in 2022. It is expected to be fully operational by 2025.
— With files from the Canadian Press