April 16, 2024

La Ronge Northerner

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Single-use plastic ban |  Businesses rely on returnable containers

Single-use plastic ban | Businesses rely on returnable containers

Now that single-use plastics have been heavily fined and banned in the metropolis, pilot programs for reusable containers are being implemented in its restaurants and food businesses. Starting at the iconic Avenue du Mont-Royal.


Backed by the administration of Mayor Valérie Plante, returnable container projects are being phased in on Mont-Royal Avenue and other city streets, including Saint-Denis Street and Saint-Laurent Boulevard, as well as businesses in Griffintown, Saint-Henri and Little. Burgundy district. Reusable foods come from suppliers like Retournzy coop and Cano in particular. Volunteer restaurants are overseen by the Association of Business Development Corporations of Montreal (ASDCM).

Disposable plates, plates, lids, utensils, straws, chopsticks, glasses and cups made of non-recyclable plastic have disappeared from the kitchens of Richard Sime, chef and cook at Bar Sime in Rue Garnier. Stone on Mont-Royal Avenue.

Photo by Marco Campanosi, The Press

Because they are microwave safe, Bar Chime’s ready-to-eat business has switched to Canoe containers.

“Before, I vacuum-packed,” says the chef behind his counter, where the smell of lamb keftas and curry meatballs mingles with the smell of still-warm carrot cake.

“I quickly realized that the vacuum process was not environmentally appealing,” he continues. So I started using recyclable containers. Then I started bringing customers their own dishes. Later, “returnable containers came more naturally”.

Shopkeepers make dishes

Because they are microwave safe, the ready-to-eat business has turned to Canoe containers. The service basically works like BIXI self-service bikes: using an app. The customer has two weeks to return the food free of charge. The laundry falls to the merchants.

Photo by Marco Campanosi, The Press

A canoe is a container

“I only do two things; I fill, I wash”, jokes Chef Sem honestly.

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Isabelle Bissonnette, an environmental engineer responsible for ecological change for a group of business development companies, explains that it is challenging to explain to restaurants that there are alternatives to single-use plastic. He argues that there are “portfolio benefits”.

Photo by Marco Campanosi, The Press

Isabelle Bissonnette is an engineer specializing in the environment

“There is a movement, but we have to give choice to merchants, to people, he believes. Like plastic bags that are gradually disappearing from grocery stores. »

Stainless steel containers with silicone lids

Another player establishing itself in the market offers stainless steel containers with silicone lids. This is Retournzy coop.

Photo by Marco Campanosi, The Press

A stainless steel container from Retournzy coop

We see these containers appearing in the Saint-Denis department, the Notre-Dame department, the Jean-Dalon market, and the École de Technologie supérieure (ETS), to name a few. Retournzy coop’s business development coordinator, France Gosselin, believes this new consumption will become a habit, but it will require patience. Most of the time.

“It’s unfortunate, but people are used to throwing away their takeout containers. There is an awareness of the importance of reducing waste at source. [à développer]. People tell us our product is great, but they don’t want to put in the effort. Ultimately, there should be a formal ban on single-use recycling. »

Claude Rainville, director of the Société de deloppement Commercial (SDC) on Avenue du Mont-Royal, explains that implementing returnable containers in large grocery stores can be a challenge. According to him, it is very complicated, especially because of the volume.

Photo by Marco Campanosi, The Press

Claude Rainville is the manager of the Business Development Corporation (SDC) on Mont-Royal Avenue

“The response among our independent traders is very good, he believes. The main thing is to improve. We need good political will on the part of the elected municipal officials and the government. »

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Environmental contribution to Prévost

In Quebec, other municipalities have adopted regulations banning single-use plastics in businesses, including Laval, Muskogee and Terrebonne. In Prévost, a small municipality of 14,000 people in the Laurentians, there is even a so-called “environmental contribution” fee for the sale of single-use containers from July 2022.

Initially, in Montreal, a pilot program was to be launched in the spring of 2020, but it was put on hold due to the pandemic, Ms.me Bissonnette, project manager.

Learn more

  • $400 to $4000
    The city of Montreal fines merchants between $400 and $4,000 for a second violation of the law banning single-use plastics.

    Source: City of Montreal