Carton Council Canada is a proud sponsor of three events this Fall

CCC’s Managing Director, Isabelle Faucher, looks forward to connecting with many industry stakeholders at these events!

The 10th Annual Canadian Waste to Resource Conference will be held in Toronto, October 8 to 10, 2019, in conjunction with the hugely successful Waste & Recycling Expo Canada.

The bi-annual Conference on Canadian Stewardship will be held November 5-7, 2019, at Parq Vancouver.

Reseau Environment’s annual Waste Management Conference will be held in Lévis, Quebec, November 13-14, 2019. CCC will have an exhibitor booth at the event.

Ontario’s Transition to a Full Producer Responsibility Blue Box Program

Ontario’s Transition to a Full Producer Responsibility Blue Box Program

Minister Yurek announces next steps to transition costs and oversight of the Blue Box Program to industry at Canada Fibers’ Toronto facility

On August 15, I attended an event convened by Environment, Conservation and Parks Minister Jeff Yurek and his colleagues to announce the next steps related to the transition of Ontario’s Blue Box Program to full producer responsibility, from the current model under which municipalities and producers share the costs of the program.

The Carton Council of Canada applauds the Ontario Government’s steps “towards diverting waste, addressing plastic pollution and creating a new recycling economy that everyone can be proud of in Ontario.”[i] Last week’s announcement also provides much-needed certainty in terms of the timing of the transition.

According to the government’s announcement, Ontario will develop and consult on regulations to support the new producer responsibility framework for the Blue Box Program over the next year. Stewardship Ontario, which manages the current Blue Box Program, will submit a plan to the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority by June 30, 2020. The first batch of municipalities to transition will do so by January 1, 2023, with transition to be completed by the end of 2025.

Carton Council Canada commends the leadership of industry and municipal representatives, whose collaborative approach and dedication to this file have ensured a productive outcome from the series of facilitated meetings and the report authored by Special Advisor David Lindsay, which paved the way for this announcement.

Of course, much work remains ahead, notably with the drafting of the Blue Box regulations, which will define the transition process as well as the parameters and requirements of the new program. But if the past few months are any indication of the future, then I would say we are off to a promising start.

CCC looks forward to continuing its engagement as consultations kick off this fall and as we collectively take this defining next step on the road to transitioning the Blue Box program.

[i] https://news.ontario.ca/ene/en/2019/08/ontario-announces-next-steps-to-improve-recycling-and-tackle-plastic-waste.html

My Great Saskatchewan Recycling Adventure

My Great Saskatchewan Recycling Adventure

Regina Huda School Grade 5A students Hady Haggui, Zubia Almas, Laiba Khan, and their teacher, Ms. Michelle Sandomirsky.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate as a judge in The Great Carton Search, a Carton Council of Canada-sponsored SARCAN initiative to encourage schools in Saskatchewan to share stories about the success of their school’s beverage container recycling program, with a focus on cartons.

According to SARCAN, schools across Saskatchewan do an amazing job recycling beverage containers, helping return 85 per cent of the containers sold in the province! However, only 50 per cent of the cartons sold make it in to a SARCAN depot for recycling.

The great Carton Search encouraged schools in the provinces to go in search of these missing cartons – and win prizes for their school in the process.

As a judge, I was most impressed by the dedication of the participating schools. The winning class from Regina Huda School visited the classrooms in their school every day, and faithfully cleaned and collected their beverage containers. Once a week, their teacher, Michelle Sandomirsky, brought the containers to the local SARCAN depot. Together, they tracked the amount and type of recycling as well as the money they raised throughout the year, now totaling more than $1,700 for their school!

The contest and the responses from participating schools reinforced that through education, a little bit of creativity and a great deal of commitment, we can certainly help increase the rate of carton recycling in our communities.

The students themselves pointed out in their submission what a tremendous impact the project and contest had in their school, in their families and in their broader communities. While 26 students were directly involved, more than 585 students and more than 50 teachers supported the recycling program.

From the winning submission: “Some students are saying that their families are recycling more at home. Many of our class families have come from other countries. Some of these countries do not even separate garbage, so when they came to Canada they had no idea what recycling even meant. This year we have made a difference to the families and community of Regina Huda School, we have started a program that can last forever!!! From now on, more and more people will share their knowledge about the importance of recycling and continue the search for cartons.”

CCC offers its congratulations to SARCAN, the teachers and grade 5A students of Regina Huda School and SARC for their exceptional work to grow the recycling of cartons and all beverage containers and their investments in a more sustainable future.

Artificial Intelligence offers additional opportunity to sort cartons positively

Artificial Intelligence offers additional opportunity to sort cartons positively

CCC’s Managing Director stands next to the SamurAI sorting robot unit, which is assigned to pick cartons and HDPE containers, at the Sani-Eco MRF in Granby, Quebec

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to visit the Sani-Eco Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Granby, Quebec, to see Machinex’s SamurAI sorting robot in action. The first of its kind to be installed in a Canadian facility, it is programmed to pick HDPE and cartons.

Robots are touted as one of the most promising evolutions in sorting technologies. Their high sorting efficiency, as well as their ability to “learn” as they work, are pointed to as key strengths. They also help alleviate some of the significant labour shortage pressures that several MRFs across the country are facing.

When asked why cartons were chosen as one of the two commodities to be sorted by the robot, Julie Gagné, Director of Operations, explains that cartons have a relatively uniform shape across the category and that their volume makes them a good candidate for sorting.

Cartons sorted by the SamurAI robot unit

As we celebrate the accomplishments of technology and the efficiencies that come with them, it is also important to note that what matters most is the positive sorting of cartons, and less so how the sorting is done. Indeed, Carton Council has long advocated for a “positive sort” when it comes to cartons. As Jason Pelz, Vice President of Recycling Projects for Carton Council North America explains, “by being sorted and baled as a separate commodity grade at MRFs, both communities and facilities can maximize the highest value for cartons in end markets, while contributing to the steady market demand for cartons.” Whether done manually, via optical sorter, or through a robot, what is important from our perspective is to increase the volume of cartons recycled and maximize their value.

In the aftermath of China’s recent drastic restrictions on plastic and paper waste imports, the fate of recycling in various countries around the world has been in question. Now, however, is the time to redouble our commitment to producing high quality material, helping ensure our recycled product is appealing to the end-markets.

At Carton Council, we are proud to help facilitate positive, productive and solution-based discussions – and look for collaborative, homegrown solutions to innovative partnerships. This includes playing a matchmaker role between municipalities and other waste management operators looking to move their carton loads with potential buyers. Simply reach out to explore how we can be of help!