New company at Lachine sorting centre looking to boost recycling

Click to play video: 'New recycling company in Lachine aims to increase Montreal’s capacity'
New recycling company in Lachine aims to increase Montreal’s capacity
Watch: A new non-profit company says they're making inroads in boosting recycling in Montreal. Société VIA has taken over the sorting centre in Lachine and the president claims major improvements on recycling have been made. Global's Tim Sargeant reports – Feb 2, 2023

Société VIA has been operating the Lachine sorting centre for household curbside recycling products since October 2022.

The president is boasting that in that time, it reduced the amount of contaminated paper that leaves the plant to 10 per cent from 30.

“The quality is good,” Jean-Sébastien Daigle said at a morning press conference in the Montreal borough.

Every week, 1,600 tonnes of material comes to the centre from curbside collections between downtown Montreal and the western tip of the island.

The vast majority is paper and cardboard products.

Of those, 20 per cent is sold to companies in Quebec where it is eventually recycled and reused.

Eighty per cent is sold on the international market, mostly in Asia.

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Read more: Single-use plastic ban takes effect Tuesday

That’s a big change from a few years ago, when paper products piled up outside sorting centres in Montreal because China refused to purchase paper coming from Canada due to the high level of contaminants.

Daigle says other Asian markets such as India are buying our paper and recycling it.

“They make paper again with this material,” he said.

There is no recycling plant on the island of Montreal. City officials say talks have begun to potentially build one in the future.

“It was discussed. It’s always an equilibrium between the market and the quality needed,” Arnaud Budka, Montreal’s waste management director, said.

Read more: Laval, Que. challenging families to reduce household waste by 25%

But environmentalists insist a new recycling centre isn’t the solution. Instead there should be more pressure on manufacturing and packaging companies to dramatically reduce the amount of material used to package products.

“The key is not to ensure that there’s enough centres to process all of our recycling, but it’s to reduce our waste at source,” Sabaa Khan of the David Suzuki Foundation said.

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Eighty-two per cent of all material including plastics, metals, glass, paper products and others that is collected at the sorting centre is recycled, according to Daigle.

He says he’s working to boost that number even higher, but environmentalists say it’s better to reduce the amount of material that needs to be sorted in the first place.

Click to play video: 'Quebec promises to do more to reduce waste, increase recycling'
Quebec promises to do more to reduce waste, increase recycling

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