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innovation | Make something new… with something old



What can be done with 450 bottles of wine and 6300 polystyrene meat trays? A picnic table. Explanations.

The circular economy is gaining more and more followers, but the concept is nothing new for Marcel and Daniel Bergevin, founders of Simax. For more than seven years, this SME based in Repentigny has been designing, manufacturing and marketing street furniture made from 70% recycled materials, including 35% glass.

We are patentees with an environmentalist mentality. We are always looking to innovate and stand out.

Marcel Bergevin, President of Simax

Each year, more than 100 tons of raw materials destined for landfill are transformed into picnic tables, flower boxes, benches, etc.

A decisive meeting

For years, Marcel Bergevin had been trying to find the perfect recipe for making ecological concrete. “We tried all kinds of plastics, we did a lot of trial and error,” he says. It was when he met Gilles Venne, vice-president of Éco-Captation – a Basses-Laurentides company that recovers polystyrene through ecocentres – that he succeeded in designing the recipe. perfect. “He is able to densify the polystyrene and split it the way we need,” he explains.

It is therefore with recycled polystyrene that Simax manages to obtain concrete that is strong enough to manufacture its range of street furniture. With the approximately 18,500 tons of polystyrene that Éco-Captation recovers each year, the Bergevin brothers’ SME, which is equipped for mass production, does not have to fear a shortage of raw materials. In addition, if a piece of furniture designed by Simax breaks, the company is able to crush it and reuse it.

A great challenge

The ecological street furniture designed by Simax is sold to some cities, municipalities, private companies and school boards, but mass demand is still pending, mainly due to prices. “Wooden or plastic-like tables are much less expensive than our products. On the other hand, our products last much longer, without maintenance, than those purchased three times less expensive and which have to be changed three times more often”, maintains Marcel Bergevin.

It is a very big challenge to change mentalities.

Marcel Bergevin, President of Simax

If all the clients that the Bergevin brothers contacted agree that street furniture made from recycled materials is great, the law of the lowest bidder hurts. “In the submissions, they write Simax or equivalent, but there is no equivalent! We are the only ones doing this! exclaims Marcel Bergevin.

According to the president of Simax, it would be enough for the government to establish a credit or a form of rebate to stimulate the purchase of products from recycling, which would facilitate their marketing and close the circle of the circular economy. “There are bales, bales and bales in the sorting centers. It’s not normal that it doesn’t come out, it’s not normal that you have to send it to another country. The normality is that the market opens and it comes out of there. I’m not speaking just for us, but for all Quebec companies that recycle materials destined for landfill,” he said.

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