Canadian Packaging

Leap Forward For Waste Diversion


December 1, 2009
by Canadian Packaging Staff

Groupe RCM Inc., a non-profit corporation active in the field of waste recovery and recycling, is adding a new processing line at its Yamachiche, Que. plant that will allow it to recycle plastic and paper waste, specifically Tetra Pak aseptic containers (for juice, wine, soup, bouillon, milk, etc.) and the cartons usually used for dairy products (milk and cream), as well as plastic (low-density polyethylene) bags and films.

This project represents a total investment of $3.5-million, including contributions from private-sector partners Tetra Pak Canada ($500,000), A. Lassonde Inc. ($100,000) and Natrel ($100, 000), as well as the Québec government corporation RECYC-QUÉBEC ($300,000). In the spring of 2010, Groupe RCM will accept specific wastes from sorting centers in Canada and converting them into granules, using a high-speed thermokinetic process developed by the Centre de recherche industrielle du Québec (CRIQ) in collaboration with Groupe RCM and Tetra Pak.

Resin made from 100 per cent post-consumption products is suitable for a wide variety of applications, and will be sold to various manufacturers across Canada and the U.S. to make items like flower pots, construction materials, filler and a number of other products.

"(The plant) is a significant contribution to sustainable development. It will make it possible to transform packaging containing post-consumer paper or plastic into a high-value-added resin material, which in turn will be used to manufacture other articles that also have a high added value," explains Yvon Picotte, president of Groupe RCM noting that his company’s objective is to reach a yearly processing volume of 12,000 metric tonnes within three years. "The fact that the plant is located in the heart of the province of Québec will cut transportation costs substantially. Moreover, it will help stabilize the post-consumption carton packaging and plastic film markets, which have been characterized by major price fluctuations."

Life Cycle Extended

The chief executive officer of Tetra Pak Canada, Santiago Fourcade, is very pleased with the new Groupe RCM recycling breakthrough that will now create a longer life cycle for the Tetra Pak carton. He says Tetra Pak’s partnership in the project is "evidence of our determination to make every effort to render our aseptic cartons 100 per cent recyclable. Tetra Pak founder Ruben Rausing used to say, ‘A package should save more than it costs’. Today, you could say we‟re living up to that.”