The massive use of disposable masks is causing headaches for many companies and organizations who do not know how to dispose of them without harming the environment. A new Montreal-Saguenay initiative aims to alleviate the problem.
In Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, a company specializing in the treatment of contaminated soils, RSI Environnement, has just joined forces with a Montreal company, Sanexen, in order to include soiled masks in its energy recovery process.
It was Sanexen who first had the idea of installing containers to collect masks from its customers.
“Our customers were asking for more, so we decided to develop a turnkey solution,” said Benoit Dion, Senior Director of Business Development at Sanexen. Every month, we will collect the soiled masks ourselves with a technician wearing anti-COVID equipment. We make sure that the logistics chain is handled by professionals. ”
All soiled masks from companies and organizations in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean that opt for this option will be brought to RSI Environnement in St-Ambroise.
“The trucks unload the masks in a warehouse located at the back of the factory,” explained RSI Environnement’s sales director, Luc Caza. It’s a negative pressure warehouse. These masks will be mixed with soil contaminated with heavy machinery. Our process makes it possible to treat masks and floors at the same time. ”
The unique energy recovery process used by RSI Environnement allows it to carry out soil treatments while reducing its propane consumption.
The company ensures that its process differs from conventional incineration and that it is much less polluting than landfill.
“In the thermal process that we use, we have a second combustion chamber that allows us to really come and destroy the contaminants and purify the gases in the chimney. This is what sets us apart from an incinerator, argued Mr. Caza. We operate since 1997 on certificates authorized by the Ministry of the Environment always respecting the environment. It will be the same with the masks. ”
Both companies are confident of attracting customers.
“We have just put the logistics chain in place,” said Mr. Dion. We have been receiving requests for a week and a half, two weeks. There is a lot of interest, whether in schools or in private industries and in some cases the discussions are very advanced. “
Sanexen and RSI Environnement believe they will be able to serve a territory that goes beyond the limits of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, but they must first assess the costs and impacts associated with transport.
For now, Sanexen is partnering with another company in the Montreal area for the final disposal of the soiled disposable masks in this sector, but it would like all the soiled masks it collects to be transported and processed in Saint-Ambroise.