Rigid plastic film, milk cartons, styrofoam trays… The standard Quebec grocery basket contains a number of packages. However, these objects are not always easily recyclable in the context of selective collection.
The Government of Quebec hopes to accelerate a shift towards so-called eco-responsible packaging by injecting $16.5 million into a support program for food and beverage processing companies, Ecopackaging +. This will be managed by the Quebec Action Fund for Sustainable Development (FAQDD).
Managing Director of the FAQDD, Nicolas Girard cites the example of multi-material packaging, made up of different superimposed materials, which are difficult to undo at the sorting center and therefore to recover. This is one type of container that would be useful to replace. Another objective will be to reduce over-packaging. But the solution is not necessarily simple or the same for all companies.
“You have to ensure the safety of food and its shelf life. It takes expertise to find the right mixes. This expertise is not always present in companies,” emphasizes Mr. Girard. This is where the government program will come into play, making it possible to hire experts.
Companies wishing to adopt more eco-responsible packaging will be able to submit their project and obtain up to $50,000. We can thus deduce that a few hundred of the 2,700 food processing companies could thus take advantage of it. Business groups will also be eligible for a collective component of the program.
“We could work with the Association of Mead Producers, who use ceramic bottles that are more difficult to recycle. If we can do work that will benefit all members, we will increase the impact tenfold,” says the general manager.
Mr. Girard believes that companies are under pressure from all sides to modernize their practices, whether from their customers, their employees or the financial community. They are also encouraged to do so by the principle of extended producer responsibility, which is being gradually implemented, which forces them not only to finance but also to oversee curbside recycling. “We are ripe for a transition,” he believes.
The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, André Lamontagne, presented this program on Tuesday at the offices of Maison Riviera, in Montérégie. This dairy company is known for its small reusable glass jars. However, some products are sold in plastic containers.
General Manager Émilie Laurin says her company wants to improve. Funding from Ecopackaging + would not cover all the costs of their projects to change certain packaging, but rather support their thinking.
Minister Lamontagne also announced the granting of $1.5 million “to Inno-centre to support businesses in implementing the modernization of the deposit system by optimizing their logistics capacity”.