The new extended deposit recovery system in Quebec is taking shape
There will be 1500 collection points to collect returnable containers. (File photo)
While the entry into force of the new extended deposit is fast approaching in Quebec, the Quebec Association for the Recovery of Beverage Containers has chosen the system it intends to put in place to recover the material.
There will be 1,500 collection points to collect returnable containers. The majority of them will be at retailers and a few hundred drop-off points will be created across the province.
At the end of the various pilot projects, the Quebec Association for the Recovery of Beverage Containers wishes to install automated collectors at retailers where there will be collection points. There are going to be machines that can recognize containers, whether they are metal, plastic, glass or cardboard. Therefore, machines that are capable of processing all materials.
The president and general manager of the association, Normand Bisson, affirms that this system will allow users to have immediately, by means of the machine, the reimbursement in cash of the container deposit.
In the new drop-off centres, the Association québécoise de recuperation des containers de eaux wants to set up two types of recovery system. There will be automated collectors that can recover all the materials from the extended deposit and a machine with which people can bring back the recovered containers in a bag.
“We give the option to the citizens. Deposit the bags rather than having to line up in front of a machine and having to enter the containers one by one. […] The idea is to allow both. »
— Normand Bisson, CEO of the Quebec Association for the Recovery of Beverage Containers
To have access to the service which allows containers to be deposited more quickly in new drop-off centres, people will have to register to create a customer account and obtain a UPC code in the computer system or digital platform that will be set up.
Mr. Bisson says this system will save people time when they go to a drop-off center. There will be a person who reads the UPC code on the bag and who places the containers of the bag on a piece of equipment. This will separate, sort and count the containers and compact them.
Users will be reimbursed by electronic transfer within one week of depositing the containers.
At retailers, where there will be automated cashiers, people will be able to receive their cash refund immediately. We chose the two methods because some citizens will prefer to have the reimbursement in cash.
According to the Quebec Association for the Recovery of Beverage Containers, collection points will begin to be deployed over the next few months to be ready on November 1, 2023, the date on which the new, expanded instructions come into effect.
“There are a lot of projects to carry out at the same time with an extremely tight deadline of November 2023.”
— Normand Bisson , CEO of the Quebec Association for the Recovery of Beverage Containers
Mr. Bisson says the challenges are great for his organization.
In terms of modernization, it's being able to deploy the system on schedule because that's really a huge challenge, he says. There is the question of setting up specialized places of return […], but all these places must also be interconnected, so in terms of information technologies, there is a whole infrastructure to develop.
When the expanded deposit comes into effect, approximately 5 billion containers will be subject to the deposit annually. Currently, some 2.5 billion containers of beer and soft drinks are returnable.
Normand Bisson maintains that agreements must be made with transport companies to transport all containers that will be recovered and enter into agreements with recyclers.
You have to be sure that the material you are going to recover will be recycled, because there would be no point in recovering material if it is not recycled. We want to make sure the system works, says Stéphane Lacasse, vice-president of the Food Retailers Association.
The Food Retailers Association always asks the Minister to the Environment, Benoit Charette, to postpone the reform of the deposit until January 1, 2025. Mr. Lacasse fears service disruptions if Quebec goes ahead with the extended deposit on November 1, as planned.
That's a lot of volume, our warehouses aren't made for that. […] One will arrive at a saturation rather quickly in the stores, he says. Retailers could be forced to refuse containers with the new deposit. We, if we have the choice between storing food to serve our customers or storing containers, we will choose to store food to serve our customers first.
Stéphane Lacasse fears a shortage of truckers to pick up the recovered containers and to transport the materials to sorting centers.