PETnology Handbook 2024

(Photo credit: TOMRA)


TOMRA to equip Consignaction's return centers for the second phase of the modernization of the deposit return scheme in Quebec

1:56 min AmericaSorting and collection
Asker, Norway

Global reverse vending leader TOMRA has entered into a long-term agreement to provide servicing and state-of-the-art equipment for the collection, sorting and processing of beverage containers for new recycling depots to be launched in Quebec starting in 2024. Following on from the November 1st expansion of Quebec’s deposit return system (DRS), the agreement with the local producer responsibility organization, the Quebec Beverage Container Recycling Association (QBCRA), will see the installation of approximately 1350 TOMRA machines.

A DRS seeks to incentivize reuse and recycling by legislating that a deposit is added to the price of a drink, which is refunded when the consumer returns the empty drink container for recycling. The roll-out of automated collection equipment in Quebec will begin in the first quarter of 2024 and continue over three years, during which time TOMRA will make an investment of approximately 430 million NOK in the new infrastructure.  

“Today, eleven out of 13 Canadian provinces and territories offer deposit return systems, to combat litter, increase recycling, and drive a circular economy,” explained Alain Nault, SVP, General Manager of TOMRA Canada.

''It is inspiring that Quebec is making huge new strides with the modernization of their drink container recycling program, promising to become one of the most efficient systems in the world. TOMRA is excited to be on board as the major provider of automated collection technology for that expansion.'' Alain Nault SVP, General Manager of TOMRA Canada.

The Quebec redemption centers will be equipped with TOMRA T9 and T70 reverse vending machines, as well as installations of TOMRA's Expert Line bulk collection technology for industrial facilities, configured for consumer interaction. The return centers automated by TOMRA include smaller centers that will purchase the reverse vending infrastructure and subscribe to a service agreement, and larger centers that will operate on a throughput revenue model (where TOMRA is paid based on the number of containers returned through their equipment).

Depots in demand as Quebec expands deposit return scheme

The building of new container return centers follows on from the expansion and modernization of Quebec’s deposit return system on November 1st. 

Prior to November 1st, the DRS included only beer/soft drink cans, PET and a small portion of one-way glass. Now it will expand to all drinkable beverages between 100ml and 2L, including all cans, plastic and glass bottles, and cartons. The deposit/refund value has also increased from 5 cents to 10 cents, except for glass, which has increased to 25 cents.

The DRS expansion also includes a change to the types of locations where consumers can return their drink containers for recycling. Quebec was until now a return-to-retail model (supermarkets where drinks are purchased also served as return points), but the province will now move to a “hybrid” return model, with the introduction of return centers, starting from 2024.

The Quebec DRS expansion will unfold in two phases, with further expansions coming in March 2025, with more container types and return locations targeted. These new measures aim to increase the number of containers collected for recycling (with a target of 90% of eligible drink containers returned for recycling), and to simplify the deposit system for consumers.

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