• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Soulanges not affected by China’s global recycled materials ban


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

A worldwide ban imposed by China at the beginning of 2018 on recycled materials has not affected the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges because of its affiliation with the Tricentris recycling centre in Lachute.

A recycled materials ban imposed by China at the beginning of 2018 that has left some municipalities scrambling to find alternative solutions to their waste management problems has not affected the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

All of the recyclable materials collected within the 23 municipalities in the region are sent for sorting and processing to the Tricentris facility in Lachute, MRC Communications and Public Relations Advisor Julie Cassab told The Journal during a telephone interview on July 3.

Non-profit organization

The MRC has been a member of Tricentris, a non-profit organization that processes almost one-third of recyclable materials in Quebec. This amounts to over 200,000 tonnes of recyclables from the more than 200 municipalities that are members of Tricentris. An estimated 17,000 tonnes of containers, packaging and printed materials is collected for recycling from the Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC area alone.

The material is then sorted at the Tricentris facility and separated into different categories including cardboard, paper, glass, plastics, ferrous metals and aluminium. “It’s very impressive. They’ve recently invested $7 million to optimize their sorting process to produce better quality materials,” said Cassab.

“They knew the crisis was coming. It’s an international situation that doesn’t only affect Quebec,” she said.

In an effort to address its own pollution problems the Chinese government announced last this year they would no longer accept the world’s castoffs including textiles, mixed paper, and polyethylene terephthalate, more commonly known as PET. Reportedly much of the material arrived in the country unsorted and soiled.

“Tricentris diversified their markets beforehand and they had a special fund in case of a crisis. They’re still affected because they had some deals with China, but they were ready for it. They weren’t affected as much as other facilities in Greater Montreal,” Cassab added.

Forefront of technology

Rigaud Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. sits as a member on the board at Tricentris and said the company hasn’t been severely impacted by the Chinese recycling ban because it’s at the forefront of recycling technology and has developed other markets to sell their materials.

“I’ve have been involved in this industry and sitting at the table for the last 25 years. Tricentris is top of the line in the sense that they operate with an open door policy. They’re always looking for ways to improve and to get more money for their product. If they need to improve their product, they invest,” said Gruenwald.

“Everything is working very well. Tricentris is on top of the situation. They are managing it and able to react to any situation that arises. They invested a few million dollars for new electronic scanners to ensure the finalized product contains fewer contaminants. They are technologically advanced and find new markets for their products,” Gruenwald added.

Glass micronization

He described Tricentris as being an innovative player in the waste management sector that focus on adopting new technologies to help improve the quality of the materials they offer to their customers.

Tricentris established a glass micronization plant at its Lachute site that allowed the finished product to be reduced in particles size and then sold as a cement additive for use in concrete structures. “All the glass collected in the MRC territory is used in the micronization plant. This organization is truly at the forefront of its research and development program,” said Gruenwald.

“While there is a worldwide crisis in the recycling industry with the closure of Chinese markets, Tricentris is doing very well. They have invested several million dollars into research and development to improve quality of its processed materials and to diversity its markets,” Gruenwald added.

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