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Press release  •  1 min

A new deposit refund system for Quebec - A concrete solution for the environment and for waste reduction, says Équiterre

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Montreal, January 30, 2020 – Équiterre welcomes the Quebec government’s ambitious plans to expand the deposit refund system in the province. By expanding the system to all ready-to-drink containers between 100 millilitres and 2 litres, whether plastic, glass or metal, a significantly greater amount of materials will be recuperated. This much awaited modernization is necessary to tackle growing waste management problems.

“For environmental, social and economic reasons, the expansion of the deposit refund system is a concrete solution: it helps to better recognize the true value of raw materials, increase reuse and recycling rates and support the market for ‘binners’ (people who collect bottles and cans for refund),” states Colleen Thorpe, Executive Director of Équiterre. “As we seek to move towards a circular economy, a deposit refund system helps us view used containers as resources rather than waste. By transforming perceptions and habits, we can help reintegrate these items into the manufacturing cycle by sorting at the source, which in turn makes these resources more valuable.”

Focus on reducing waste at the source

Considering the current climate crisis and the scarcity of natural resources, reducing waste at the source is increasingly important. A deposit refund system reduces the need for new containers and, by extension, the need to extract natural resources. This reduction also translates into reduced energy needs for transportation, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Raising awareness to change behaviours

Although 91% of Quebecers are in favour a deposit refund system for wine bottles (according to a 2017 SOM survey), there is work to be done to properly educate the public about the new system and to encourage participation.

“Polling shows strong social acceptance for this type of ecofiscal tool, and its economic efficiency has been demonstrated. But to ensure a successful implementation of the new system, the necessary funds will need to be allocated to properly communicate this transformation to all Quebecers,” notes Ms. Thorpe.

Need to go further

“The expansion of the deposit refund system is a huge step in the right direction, but we must go further. Now we need to ensure that the new system prioritizes reuse, by encouraging manufacturers to opt for multiple use containers,” states Ms. Thorpe. “Quebecers are demanding major change. Tens of thousands of citizens have signed petitions over the past few years asking for a deposit refund system for wine bottles. Announcements like today’s help strengthen our collective resolve.”

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For additional information or to arrange an interview:

Dale Robertson, Media Relations, Équiterre
514 605-2000