Posts

Quebec Government rescues Private Company on the cusp of closing four MRFs

,

In late January, a private company the runs four recycling centres across the Province of Quebec had threatened to shut down its operations. The company, Rebuts Solides Canadiens (RSC), which is owned by French company Tiru, issued a letter to the City of Montreal stating that it has been steadily losing revenue since October 2019 due to the global paper-recycling crisis and that it could not continue operations much longer.

In the letter to the City of Montreal, RSC stated that it needed more money or will be forced to close. In response, the City of Montreal stated that it had bailed out the company before but can’t afford to pay again.

“The sale of paper constituted a major part of Groupe RSC’s revenue. This drastic shift in the world market of recycled paper was already a considerable expense for Groupe RSC, despite the efforts from some municipalities and public aid,” RSC’s letter read. 

In response, Quebec’s Environment Minister, Benoit Charette stated he wants to prevent recyclable material from going to landfill “at all costs.” The Government of Quebec backed up his words by announcing that it was loaning RSC $7 million to keep its operations open.

In return for the loan, the Quebec government obtained guarantees worth $8 million on the company’s assets. The Quebec Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change) assumes a $5 million share of the loan while Recyc-Québec will assume a $2 million loan.

Cost-Revenue Drivers for MRFs

One driver for the recycling woes of Groupe RSC is the ban China instituted in 2018 on several types of recyclables. The Chinese ban caused a shift in the world market for recycled and recuperated goods, causing a waste crisis in dozens of cities around North America. 

A second driver for the current recycling crisis in Montreal is the city’s sing-stream recycling process. With single-stream recycling, all materials are collected together and all the sorting happens at the Material Recycling Facility (MRF). Although single-stream is easier on residents and results in higher participation rates, it is more costly to run and leads to higher contamination rates at the MRF.

Montreal’s Plan to ban food waste disposal in garbage

,

The City of Montreal recently announced a plan to ban the disposal of food waste generated at large grocery stores from being disposed of in the garbage. Under the plan, grocery stores will be required to divert edible food to charitable organizations such as food banks. Inedible food waste is to collected separately from other wastes so that it can be aerobically composted or anaerobically digested.

According to the City of Montreal, approximately half the the waste disposed of in landfill is organic material.

Under the plan, anything that cannot be donated must be composted or anaerobically digested. If businesses do not comply, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said they could face fines, as a last resort.

That enforcement would come in phases, starting with large grocery stores.

“We’re serious about doing the ecological transition, and all the areas need to be looked at, whether it’s transport, about food, about recycling,” Plante said.

A successful partnership between several Montreal grocery stores and food banks have been in operation since 2013. The food bank Moisson Montréal accepts edible food not sold at Provigo, IGA and Metro grocery stores. In 2018, it is estimated the food bank received more than 1 million kilograms of food from the grocery stores.

Interestingly, Second Harvest has developed a mobile app, called FoodRescue, designed to put organizations wanting to donate food to those we want it. FoodRescue.ca is a connection that works on a local level
for any food business to donate any type of unsold, good food to any organization that feeds people in need.

Montreal has approved construction of a $175-million composting plant

, , ,

The City Council of Montreal recently voted to approve the construction of a $175-million composting plant in St-Laurent borough. Suez Canada Waste Services Inc. will build the facility.

New provincial laws regulating odours added to the costs of the facility, said Coun. Émilie Thuillier, vice-chair of the city’s contract review committee.

Thuiller also said officials have chosen to entrust the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the future plant to a single bidder rather than splitting these responsibilities into several contracts, as usual. This, she explained, made for imprecise estimates.

Originally budgeted at $46 million by the City of Montreal, the estimated cost of the new compositng plant has jumped to $175,445,919.26. That includes $146 million for decontamination and construction costs and $29 million for operation and maintenance over five years, Jean-François Parenteau, the executive-committee member responsible for sustainable development, said last week.

The Council vote for the project was 35 for and 21 against. The main opposition to the project was from the Association of Suburban Municipalities. Councillors representing the Association said island suburbs were not given sufficient information to make an informed decision on the plant, even though they will be responsible for nearly $30 million of its cost.

SUEZ is one of the largest water and waste companies in the world.  In Canada, it  operates and maintains the Edmonton Co-Composting Facility, Edmonton Materials Recovery Facility, and maintains the Edmonton Integrated Processing & Transfer Facility for the City of Edmonton. SUEZ also operates and maintains the Swan Hills Treatment Centre for the Province of Alberta.

According to the Montreal Gazette, the City of Montreal’s City could have the most expensive waste composting operations in all of Canada.  Montreal’s 2019-2021 capital spending program shows that spending on the waste organics program is estimated to be $589 million.

In the summer, a whistleblower that alerted the media of the high cost of Montreal’s waste organics program called it the “most expensive composting plants in this universe.”

If all goes as planned, the new composting plant should be up and running by September 2021.

Cost of Composting in Montreal Skyrockets

, , ,

According to the Montreal Gazette, the City of Montreal’s City could have the most expensive waste composting operations in all of Canada.  Montreal’s 2019-2021 capital spending program shows that spending on the waste organics program is estimated to be $589 million.

In the summer, a whistleblower that alerted the media of the high cost of Montreal’s waste organics program called it the “most expensive composting plants in this universe.”

The latest figure is up by 70 per cent over last year’s estimate of $344 million, though no shovel has yet gone into the ground. The project is also now more than double the initial price tag of $237.5 million that was announced in 2013.

The key changes between the new 2019-2021 capital works program and the 2018-2020 program are as follows:

  • St-Laurent composting plant: cost goes from $65.3 million in previous program to $131.9 million in new program. Delayed from December 2020 to August 2021.
  • Montreal-East biomethanation plant: goes from $72.8 million to $126.4 million in new program. Delayed from December 2020 to August 2021.
  • R.D.P.–Pointe-aux-Trembles composting plant: goes from $46.9 million in previous program to $90.7 million in new program. Delayed from December 2020 to June 2024.
  • LaSalle biomethanation plant: goes from $89.1 million in previous program to $143 million in new program. Delayed from June 2024 to June 2025.
  • Montreal-East pre-treatment plant: goes from $22.2 million to $31.1 million in new program. Delayed from December 2021 to September 2024.

The cost increase is the result of high bids on contracts to design, build, operate and maintain the first three of the five centres, the city executive committee member responsible for the project, Jean-François Parenteau, said on Thursday.

The city received a single bid in two of the calls for tenders, and two bids in the third.  La compagnie de recyclage de papiers MD and SUEZ Canada Waste Services were each the sole bidder on, respectively, a composting plant in Rivière-des-Prairies—Pointe-aux-Trembles borough and a biomethanation plant in the suburb of Montreal-East.

La compagnie de recyclage de papiers MD is a Quebec based company that has been in operation since 1991.  In 2017, it won a contract to design, build, operate and ensure the maintenance of a new recyclable materials sorting centre in the Montreal borough of Lachine.

SUEZ is one of the largest water and waste companies in the world.  In Canada, it  operates and maintains the Edmonton Co-Composting Facility, Edmonton Materials Recovery Facility, and maintains the Edmonton Integrated Processing & Transfer Facility for the City of Edmonton. SUEZ also operates and maintains the Swan Hills Treatment Centre for the Province of Alberta.

The two companies were the only competitors for a composting centre in St-Laurent borough.