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Waste management: Équiterre calls on the Legault government to transform a "broken system"

 
Photo credit : Mélissa de La Fontaine

Montreal, May 25, 2021 - Équiterre will present its brief tonight at the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) hearings on residual waste, highlighting the need for an in-depth overhaul of Quebec's waste management action plan.

"We are on our third action plan for waste management in the province but we still haven't managed to decrease our waste over the years. We need a collective wake-up call on this issue. The system is broken and needs to be fixed," states Amélie Côté, Équiterre's Analyst in responsible consumption and reduction at the source.

The total amount of waste has decreased by only 1% since 2008. An unacceptable situation, according to the expert.

"There are no incentives to encourage alternatives to disposal. The reason is simple: the costs of disposal are too low," adds Amélie Côté.

"The deposit refund system on beverage containers is a great example. Refillable container systems, such as brown beer bottles, are known to be more environmentally sound. But they are used much less frequently now that the clause guaranteeing a minimum quantity of refillable bottles per brewer no longer exists. The government should not allow this to happen. It should take the opportunity to support the development and consolidation of refillable container systems," concludes the analyst.

Stop feeding the beast

During the first part of the BAPE, we learned that the Ministry of the Environment does not have a clear picture of the costs charged by landfills and incinerators. However, it is recognized that some of these mega sites keep their prices low because they need more and more waste in order to "feed the beast".

To counter this problem, the government could legislate to significantly increase disposal fees.

Some of the other solutions proposed by Équiterre in its brief (in French):

  • Reduce waste at the source by taking action on over-packaging, reducing food waste and promoting refillable container systems in the food sector.
     
  • Improve opportunities for reuse and repair of what already exists.

  • Stop putting the burden on individuals and tackle the systemic
    problems.
     Change must be embraced by all stakeholders, especially the government, businesses and institutions.
     
  • Revise RECYC-QUÉBEC's mandate to integrate reduction at the source and reuse as priorities in a systemic way.


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For more information, please contact:

Anthony Côté Leduc, Media Relations
(514) 605-2000
acoteleduc@equiterre.org