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Recycling | The quality of sorting is improving in Montreal



The quality of recycling sorting by Montrealers has improved dramatically in recent months, according to the two companies responsible for it. The Plante administration is delighted, but will ask for an independent analysis to confirm it.

These performances give hope that the contents of the green bins collected in the metropolis can henceforth be better valued.

Ricova, the company at the center of last fall’s recycling crisis, announced on Wednesday afternoon that the bales of paper coming out of its sorting center in Saint-Michel are now almost perfect, with only 2% of contamination. Explanation: New European machines installed over the holidays are doing a much better job.

“We are very proud to say that we succeeded in our challenge,” said Dominic Colubriale, Ricova’s big boss. The company says it has invested 6 million in three years in the Saint-Michel plant. “We reduced the contamination rate from 35% to 2%. »


Dominic Colubriale, Ricova’s big boss, at a press conference Thursday at the Saint-Michel sorting center

Contrary to usual practice, Mr. Colubriale refused to answer questions from journalists. Its director of communications took care of that. “Our 2% respects the highest industry standards,” said Laurence Tôth. The Saint-Michel sorting center was promised a short-term closure, but the investments could allow it to operate for another 10 years, assures Ricova. Its current operating contract ends next year, however.

The City will validate the figures

Valérie Plante wants to ensure the veracity of the figures released by Ricova. “We see that the investments made by the operator have borne fruit,” said his cabinet in a written statement. We will be able to see in the coming months whether this performance is sustainable. The City will request an external characterization that will validate the performance. »

At the end of last summer, Ricova was at its worst, piling up bales of recyclables inside and outside its factories because it was unable to export them, in line with its business model. business. The bales, too contaminated, were turned back to customs. Ricova threatened to close its facilities to trucks, which could have caused the collection to be interrupted.

These difficulties prompted the City of Montreal to remove Ricova from the new sorting center in Lachine, which was struggling to produce good quality bales despite its brand new equipment.

An improvement also in Lachine

Société VIA, a social economy enterprise, took over from Ricova at the Lachine sorting center last October.

On Wednesday, she also announced results: her bales of mixed paper are contaminated at 10%, down from the 30% that Ricova showed in her last weeks at the helm. Such levels of contamination affect the value of the bales and compromise the possibilities of adding value to them in industrialized countries.


Jean-Sébastien Daigle, president of Société VIA, at a press conference, Thursday

Jean-Sébastien Daigle, president of Société VIA, indicated that his organization had added many employees to the sorting lines in order to manually remove contaminating materials.

We’ve done a lot of repairs since we arrived.

Jean-Sébastien Daigle, president of Société VIA, at a press conference, Thursday

Société VIA exports the vast majority (80%) of the bales of paper leaving the Lachine sorting center, particularly to developing countries such as India, even if its business model rather recommends the local recovery of the material. . Bales of paper sold on the local market are sold to the Cascades paper mill.

Arnaud Budka, the Montreal official responsible for the residual materials file, affirmed that the City of Montreal was “satisfied” with the performance of the VIA Company in Lachine, adding however that the rate of contamination should continue to drop.

“We welcome the good news concerning the state of the city’s sorting centers very positively,” said the office of the mayor. Many advances have been made in the past year. Our teams, in collaboration with our partners, have spared no effort to improve the quality of the materials produced by our two sorting centres. »

Corrigendum: a previous version of this article mentioned Laurence Thôt, when it should have been written Laurence Tôth. Our apologies.

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