Canadian Packaging

New Recycling Process In Quebec For Juice Boxes And Milk Cartons

Made-in-Canada application, coordinated by Groupe RCM and partners, transforms cartons and plastic shopping bags into new material.


November 5, 2010
by Canadian Packaging Staff

Canada has made a leap forward in consumer packaging waste diversion. A cutting edge recycling line was recently launched at Groupe RCM’s recycling facility in Yamachiche, Québec; a local project that’s part of a larger industry strategy to optimize end-of-life carton management in Canada.

The launch is the end result of a three-year development and represents a CDN $3.5 million investment, spearheaded by Tetra Pak Canada as part of its larger, aggressive national recycling plan. Tetra Pak and its corporate partners A. Lassonde Inc., and Natrel, along with Québec government corporation Recyc-Québec collectively provided Groupe RCM with $1 million in seed capital.

The new recycling process, the first of its kind in the world, breaks down carton, plastic bag and film waste into a thermoplastic resin which will be used in industrial and commercial manufacturing.

The line accepts all gable top and aseptic cartons, as well as plastic shopping bags and cellophane films from sorting centers in the Québec market. A thermokinetic process uses high-speed knives to homogenize disparate waste materials into plastic granules that can later be used for making a wide variety of plastic products including: flower pots, railway ties, guard rail posts, pallets and plastic lumber. The process is waste-free, converting all elements, including straws, caps and other plastic attachments, into plastic granules.

“We’re proud of the innovation and collaboration that took place amongst all of the partners we worked with to make this project a reality,” says Yvon Picotte, president of Groupe RCM. “It’s a smart and efficient way to transform post-consumer paper and plastic containers into useful, everyday goods; and it has created 25 local jobs in Yamachiche, including several positions designated for people with physical or cognitive disabilities.  Our new recycling line is a win-win-win situation.”

Adds Santiago Fourcade, managing director of Tetra Pak Canada: “The new line in Yamachiche is an important local enhancement to the recycling solutions we have in place in Canada and worldwide. It is important to us that we create new solutions to improve the recycling rates of our cartons and by collaborating with the Canadian recycling industry we can develop new technologies.

“We know that by investing in the facility we are creating new solutions, not just for the lifecycle of Tetra Pak cartons, but for all Canadians.”

This investment aligns with the greater awareness and concern that Canadians have for recycling in general.  According to an EKOS survey commissioned by Tetra Pak, more than 80 per cent of Canadians feel recycling is worth the effort. The same survey indicates over 70 per cent of Canadians check to see if an item is recyclable before disposing.

“The launch of this locally-developed recycling line is a testament to the vision, creativity and know-how of all the partners,” states Jean Gattuso, chief operating officer of Lassonde Industries Inc. and president and chief executive officer of A. Lassonde Inc. “This project aligns perfectly with our mission to produce and market food products that by their quality and variety contribute to the enjoyment and wellness of consumers.”

Gattuso continues, “We are a major user of Tetra Pak packaging for our Oasis juice brand and also for our Bistro Mundo and Arte Nova wines, among others. Our firm is committed to being a leader in environmental performance and this technological breakthrough enables us to meet our customer’s demand for containers whose ecological footprint is small.”

Serge Paquette, president, Agropur Division Natrel mentions, “We’re proud to be associated with this initiative.  Environmentally, it provides our industry with more options and a new carton recycling end-market to Quebec.”

Summing up, Ginette Bureau, chief executive officer of Recyc-Québec explains how the launching of the new line of multilayer container and plastic bag processing has allowed the company to fulfill a specific need in Quebec’s recycling industry. “This technological breakthrough has also made it possible for Recyc-Québec to complete various other projects, including the Recyclable Bag Certification Program and the Separate Collection Chart of Recyclable Materials, which encourages municipalities to include multilayer containers and plastic bags in their separate collection.”

About Groupe RCM
Founded in 1981, Groupe RCM Inc. is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to create jobs for people with physical or cognitive limitations, while improving environmental quality through the recovery and reclamation of recyclable domestic and industrial waste. The social economy enterprise employs a staff of 180, of whom 83 per cent are people with physical or cognitive limitations, and processes over 40,000 tonnes of waste annually.

About Tetra Pak Canada
Tetra Pak is the world’s leading food processing and packaging solutions company. Working closely with customers and suppliers, it provides safe, innovative and environmentally sound products that each day meet the needs of hundreds of millions of people in more than 170 countries around the world.  Tetra Pak has almost 22,000 employees based in over 85 countries. More information about Tetra Pak Canada Inc. is available at www.tetrapak.ca.

About A. Lassonde Inc.
A. Lassonde Inc., a subsidiary of Lassonde Industries Inc., was founded in 1918. A leading Canadian juice manufacturer, the firm develops, manufactures and markets an innovative, distinctive line of fruit and vegetable juices and beverages. It markets its products in all Canadian provinces and the New England states, under various brands . The company currently has nearly 1,000 employees.

About Natrel
Founded in 1990, Natrel, a division of the Agropur Cooperative is a leader in Canada’s dairy industry. It operates eight plants in Québec, Ontario and British Columbia, employs 1,866 people and processes nearly 1.1 billion liters of milk annually. Natrel, whose head offices are located in Longueuil, supplies close to 30,000 customers and offers a wide range of products, including well-known brands such as Québon, Natrel and Sealtest. Agropur Cooperative operates globally in 26 plants in Argentina, U.S. and Canada and processes 3.1 billion liters of milk annually.

About Recyc-Québec
For 20 years, Recyc-Québec, a government corporation, has led, implemented and coordinated waste development activities through program management, knowledge development, and mobilization of key players in order to reduce waste being generated, and thereby reduce the amount of waste being eliminated.