Questions and answers

Do we need to separate the various components of containers or packaging?

Yes. By separating the various materials that make up packaging, you make the sorting and recycling process easier. That is the case, for example, when you remove the metal cover from a glass jar before placing them both in the recycling bin.

It is not necessary, however, to remove the label from tin cans. On the other hand, if the various parts of a container or packaging are made with the same material, it is preferable to leave them assembled when placing them in the recycling bin to optimize sorting operations.

Are there outlets for recyclable materials in Quebec?

Yes. There are several Quebec industries that purchase materials produced by sorting centres for reuse, including paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal. ÉEQ and RECYC-QUÉBEC are working together on projects and programs to develop markets for recycled materials that are in lower demand such as glass.

Quebec manufacturers are increasingly using products and containers made from recycled materials, particularly fibre.

Is there a relationship between growing recycling trends and fewer greenhouse gases?

Yes. First of all, recovering recyclable materials avoids their being sent to landfill or incinerated, both of which generate greenhouse gas. Secondly, doing so avoid using raw materials to produce new products, therefore reducing greenhouse gases associated with extraction, production, transportation and landfilling or incineration.

Are companies financially responsible for the social and environmental impact of the materials they generate?

Yes. The Government of Quebec’s compensation plan requires industry to financially compensate municipalities for curbside recycling services. The plan is based on the principle of extended producer responsibility (EPR), which is a political and environmental instrument that extends producers obligations beyond product consumption. The principle is gaining ground throughout Canada and in Europe and since 2013, companies will shoulder 100% of the costs of collecting, transporting, sorting and conditioning recyclable materials.

Source : OCDE Responsabilité élargie des producteurs : Manuel à l’intention des pouvoirs public 2001

Are recycled materials worth anything?

Yes. Recovered recyclable materials have a market value. For example, in 2011, a tonne of recovered transparent PET plastic bottles (#1 plastic) sold for an average $601.

Why is curbside recycling a growing trend?

It is a simple and practical system that only requires us to place unsorted recyclable materials in the recycling bin. The public is increasingly aware of the importance of doing their part for the environment, and sorting centre handling processes are being constantly improved. Moreover, many more recycling stations have been installed in public places since 2007.

Should bags labeled biodegradable, oxodegradable or compostable be placed in recycling bins?

No, biodegradable, oxidegradable or compostable bags should not be placed in recycling bins. There is a great variety of degradable plastics on the market. Some are made from starch and others of traditional plastic with additives to make them degradable. These physicochemical characteristics are different from those of conventional plastics.

If your bags is labeled as is biodegradable, oxodegraedable or compostable, reuse it and, at the end of its useful life, put it in the trash can.

Source : Évaluation de leur impact environnemental, publié en 2007 par RECYC-QUÉBEC

Do we need to remove circulars from plastic bags before putting it all in the recycling bin?

Yes. Circulars must be removed from the plastic bags they come in before they are placed in the recycling bin in order to avoid disrupting sorting centre operations.

Are all types of plastic accepted by sorting centres?

No. #6 plastic is rejected by most Quebec municipalities. Containers made of other numbered plastics may be placed in recycling bins. They are identified by a triangle made up of three arrows around a number from 1 to 7, which is printed under the container.

Are small yogurt containers made of #6 plastic accepted by sorting centres?

No. Small yogurt containers that are sold in multi-packs are not accepted by most sorting centres. It its therefore more eco-friendly to purchase larger sizes or smaller ones that are sold by the unit, which are accepted by sorting centres as they are not made of the same type of plastic.

Do sorting centres reject certain materials?

Yes. 91% of materials are correctly recycled in Quebec. According to a 2010 study, the average rejection rate in Quebec sorting centres was 9%. Rejects are mainly items that are not accepted in the curbside recycling program or are made with non-recyclable materials.

Can the same truck be used to collect trash and recyclable materials?

Yes. The same truck may be used for collecting recyclable materials and trash, even though that might not be indicated on truck signage. However, a truck that has been used for collecting trash is washed before it is used to transport recyclable materials.