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Madam Sarrasin,

Mark the date of November 1 in your diary. The government does not talk about it enough, but the lives of Quebecers will (a little) change at this time.

From this date, all beverage containers from 100 milliliters to 2 liters will no longer go in the recycling bin, but will have to be taken to depots set up for this purpose.

This includes wine bottles, milk jugs, beer cans, pop bottles. The deposit will be 25 cents for bottles of wine and spirits and 10 cents for all other containers.

Clearly, it is therefore not the SAQ that will take back your bottles of Bordeaux, but these new drop-off points.

This expanded deposit, as it is called, has one purpose: to prevent different materials from mixing in the waste bin and contaminating each other. We know that glass, in particular, breaks, contaminates paper and causes breakage in sorting centres. Most of the time, the glass itself ends up in the landfill as backfill material because it is too contaminated to be reused.

With this new system, the beverage containers will go directly to the companies that recondition them, without going through the sorting center.

Why target beverage containers? Why will the glass jam jar keep going to the recycling bin while the wine bottle goes to the depot? Why send the plastic shampoo bottle to the bin and the plastic sparkling water bottle to the depot?

Recyc-Québec responds that beverages are often consumed outside the home, which makes it more difficult to recycle them. We are also told that it would have been very complex to record everything.

Think about it: the Owens-Illinois plant in Montreal, which melts glass to make new containers, has to import its glass from Ontario, the United States and the Maritimes because the glass recovered in Quebec is too bad. quality. It’s embarassing.

Of course, November 1st is tomorrow morning. And we can wonder if we will be ready. The SAAQ fiasco is still very fresh in memory…

This time, it is not Quebec that directly manages the extended deposit, but the container producers themselves according to the principle of “extended producer responsibility”. They have formed an organization, the Quebec Association for the Recovery of Beverage Containers, to deal with it. Quebec imposes conditions and ensures that they are respected.

For the extended deposit to work, 1,500 drop-off points must be set up throughout Quebec. You have to install gobeurs capable of reading the barcodes of several different types of containers (beer lovers who fight with current gobeurs to have their cans accepted are undoubtedly worried by reading these lines).

These machines will have to be in sufficient numbers to avoid the queues likely to discourage citizens. Specialized equipment will also be needed to manage the material collected (glass, in particular, is too heavy to be handled by employees).

A whole awareness campaign will ultimately be necessary to explain the changes to citizens.

In short, there is a lot of work to do. The Quebec Association of Food Retailers is campaigning to postpone the implementation of the extended deposit to 2025 in order to “do things right”.

Except that reports, there have already been. The introduction of the deposit was first planned for the fall of 2022, then for the spring of this year, before being postponed to November 1.

At some point, we will have to take the bull by the horns and act. In the office of the Minister of the Environment Benoit Charette, we swear that we want to stay the course for November 1st. So much the better. The extended instruction is a good measure, and the fear of screwing up cannot be an excuse for inaction.