Of quebec solutions to the plastic problem

Des solutions québécoises au problème du plastique

Photo: Indranil Mukherjee Agence France-Presse
At the Top of Charlevoix, the G7 countries have set as a goal the recovery of 100% of plastic products and 55% by 2030.

More than 300 international actors were reunited in Paris this week to find solutions to the ” crisis of the planet of plastic “. Including ways to recycle the approximately 500 billion plastic bottles are produced each year in the world.

A bunch of start-up companies was in the City of Light to convince of the giants of the food industry, cosmetics and the industry of plastic turn to their new technologies aimed at reducing the amount of virgin plastic in packaging.

Among these giants : Petcore, Total, Unilever, L’oréal, Coca-Cola, Procter and Gamble and other multinationals, is one of the major producers and users of plastics that pollute the environment and oceans. Many players — including some of the signatories of the Charter on the plastics in the oceans is subjected every day to more pressure to turn to packaging that are less polluting.

To (re)read

Our folder — plastic planet

However, the young shoots of québec and canada have increased exchanges this week in the French capital to make known to these giants of the solutions to the misfire current observed in the recycling of plastic.

Among them, Polystyvert, Pyrowave and Loop Industries, start-ups in Quebec who hope to sell and spread their technologies in several corners of the planet. This is already the case of Loop Industries, which is trying to carve out the lion’s share of the market of recyclable plastic, used for the manufacture of products of bottling.

The young company, launched in 2015, has developed a technique to dissolve without water or heat the polymer polyethylene terephthalate (pet) (PET) used to produce the bottles, as well as the polyester, that contain a wealth of textiles, from post-consumer plastic.

The process helps to ” dépolymériser “, decolorize, and purify the plastics are worn, PET and polyester) to bring them back to the state of monomers virgin, enough pure to permit their re-use to infinity in the food products. The traditional processes of manufacture of the recycled plastic does not allow, in general, to give birth to a plastic, low-quality, reusable a limited number of times.

“What is waste for others, it is the raw material for us. Our process is more of a “surcyclage” “, says Nelson Switzer, director of development at Loop Industries. “Not only can we create a new pure material from any PET or polyester, including the one recovered from the ocean, to avoid the extraction of fossil resources, but this avoids, in addition as plastics continue to flee from landfills or in the environment,” he says.

If no agreement has yet been signed at Paris, the young company already has in its cartons several projects for the breath-taking. Loop Industries has sealed an agreement last fall with Indorama Venture, a producer of plastic implanted in 27 countries, to adapt, by 2020, some of its plants, including one in America, in the manufacture of bottles made of PET 100 % ” surcyclés “. Loop Industries is also allied with the German group ThyssenKrupp to integrate its technology allowing the use of plastic recovered a little around the world.

Packaging made of plastics recovered will be for the giants that are Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, L’oréal and Evian (Danone), which by themselves use the largest share of PET products in the world.

Several of these companies have already committed to use, in 2030, bottles made of 50 % PET recycled, while Nestlé plans to reach this target by 2025. “This will lead to a possible demand of more than 3.3 billion pounds of plastic per year, it is a huge market,” says Nelson Switzer.

The agreements provide that the term “Loop” will appear on packaging and products so that consumers can make the choice of “sustainable solutions to solve the crisis of plastic,” explains the spokesperson of Loop Industries.

In Canada, only 800 000 of the 4.5 million tonnes of PET produced each year are recovered, according to the last. Many other start-ups, american, German, and japanese quarrel as this nascent market.

Ambitious targets

Last year, at the Summit of Charlevoix, the G7 countries have set as a goal the recovery of 100 % of plastic products and 55 % by 2030. Needless to say, with only 7% of the 480 billion plastic bottles are sold each year in the world who take the way of recycling, it is still far from the account.

The young company Pyrowave, of Valleyfield, as well as Polystyvert were also on the ranks to Paris to make their recycling processes of polystyrene (PS), single-use plastic (cups, coffee, containers for take-away food, etc) “non-recyclable” and shunned by most of the recovery programs municipal.

“It wants to position itself on a global scale, because this solution is applicable in all markets. We wish to implement small modules, as big as a container, which can treat the polystyrenes, as in sorting centres that in any factory, ” explains Virginie Bussières, vice-president of communications and marketing, the spokesperson for the start-up founded by three engineers from ecole Polytechnique.

Reduced to the state of granules after dissolution in oil, the polystyrene recovered can be easily transported and reintroduced into the manufacturing of new plastics.

It is at the invitation of Éco Entreprises Québec (EEQ) and its vis-à-vis French Citeo that all these players were together. “With CITEO, our French equivalent, one wants to understand that the future lies in innovative solutions for recycling. The food sector is the source of 60 % of plastics packaging products in the world, ” explains the Duty Maryse Vermette, p.-d. g. of EQA, attached to Paris.

The key lies not only in the technologies available, but in the mesh of these young companies with potential investors, able to provide the capital needed to propel and commercial alliances, ” she said.

For the moment, the chain of the recycling of the plastic remains largely problematic in Québec, as elsewhere in the world. If the rate of recovery of the plastic in the sorting centres reached 35 % in Quebec, according to Ms. Vermette, a thin is actually recycled.

“There are investments to be made to avoid what we experienced with the closing of the asian markets [in our reclaimed materials]. This industry is not regulated, it is not known what amount of plastic is recycled and where it goes. This is why it is necessary to focus on technologies that aim to replace the intake of raw materials at source, particularly by replacing them with polymers recycled. “

At the present time, EQE provides a credit for companies that use recycled plastic in the design of their packaging. But no law obliges them to introduce a minimum percentage of recovered materials in the manufacture of plastic products in Canada and the United States.

By the numbers

Des solutions québécoises au problème du plastique

– 480 billion: The number of plastic bottles sold in the world each year

– 8 %: the share of these plastic bottles recycled

– 8 %: the proportion of the world’s production of oil for the production of plastic

– 100 %: the share of recycled plastic material referred to by the giant Danone (brands Evian, Badoit, Volvic) in its bottles by 2025

– 50 %: the share of recycled plastic covered in their bottles by Coca-Cola by 2030 and Nestlé Waters by 2050

– 25 %: the share of recycled plastic material referred to by PepsiCo by 2025


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