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The City will have to work harder if it wants to succeed in diverting 85% of residual materials from landfill sites by 2030.

Single-use plastic: 92 compliant ;% in Montreal

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Forced to abandon plastic utensils and glasses, restaurants and businesses are turning to wooden and cardboard items.

  • Valérie Boisclair (View profile)Valérie Boisclair

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Nearly a year after banning the distribution of many single-use plastic items, the City of Montreal says that 92% of restaurants and food businesses have complied with the regulations.

Since the entry into force of the regulation on March 28, 2023, most of the 9,500 businesses targeted have replaced plastic straws and glasses with cardboard containers or wooden.

Any establishment that offers a catering service (restaurants, counters, food fairs, street food trucks) or that packages food for retail sale (grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, pastries, etc.) is covered by the regulation .

To ensure that these establishments are compliant, around thirty hygiene and sanitation inspectors at the City carried out 8,942 inspections during of the last year. They gave 830 infringement notices, and around forty fines were distributed to recalcitrant businesses.

Among the establishments which persisted in deviating from the regulations, there were both large brands and local businesses, indicated Marie-Andrée Mauger, responsible for the ecological transition and of the environment at the City of Montreal.

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But now, the big chains are following suit, she said. It was more work, but they are there. All those who were reluctant to apply the regulations complied, according to the City.

Compostable plastic or not (#1 to 7)

Polystyrene plastic (#6) or compostable (#7)

We can find in the 8% [who did not comply] people who were simply not sensitive to the new regulations and who continued to act as if they did not exist, explained for his part Martin Vézina, vice-president of public and government affairs of the Association Restauration Québec.

Some establishments also continued to use stocks of utensils and containers that they had to sell, while waiting to find other packaging, according to Mr. Vézina.

According to an economic impact analysis conducted in the summer of 2021, the abandonment of plastic containers in favor of recyclable or reusable models represented a increase of 5 to 10 cents per order. However, the City has not updated its data since.

Satisfied with the compliance rate of businesses, the City of Montreal says it has noted a drop in the volume of recyclable materials sent to sorting centers since the regulation came into force.

We also observe, in proportion to the population, a drop in the tonnage of what is sent to landfill, indicated Ms. Mauger. Because our primary goal is to reduce, so [we are aiming for a] reduction in tonnage.

Montreal has committed to diverting 85% of residual materials from landfill sites by 2030, setting an intermediate target of 70% for 2025. The City, which estimates that 50% of waste is currently diverted, agrees that it will have to invest more effort to meet its schedule.

We still have a lot of extra work to do to get there, summarized Ms. Auger.

Especially since the only site of ;landfill of materials in the metropolitan region, located in Terrebonne, should be filled by 2029.

As for whether Montreal authorities intend to go further, in particular by adding plastic bottles to the regulations, Ms. Auger explained that the City plans to conduct an analysis of potential measures to adopt to allow it to reach zero. waste. Its residual materials management master plan will expire in 2025.

At the provincial level, the government of Quebec intends to adopt its Strategy for the reduction and responsible management of plastics during the year 2024.

With the collaboration of Gabrielle Proulx

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