The intermunicipal board of management of residual waste of the Gaspésie has developed a mulch with recycled glass, and Nathalie Flag also shows the type of tiles which might be manufactured with plastics that are undesirable.
July 17, 2020
Updated on July 18, 2020 to 6h18
The gaspé peninsula: what to do with the plastic side?
GRANDE-RIVIÈRE — The intermunicipal board of management of residual waste of the Gaspé peninsula is teaming with a consulting firm and will shortly be testing the two universities in order to find something to make with the “plastic junk”, the soft plastics to be recovered, but for which there is almost no market currently.
These plastics represent several hundred tonnes per year for the MRC du Rocher-Percé and Côte-de-Gaspé, which are 37 000 people.
“Just for the plastic bags, it is 300 tonnes per year for the two MRCS that we serve. It does not count the plastic packaging, agricultural, nets, plastic bags and other types of the same genre,” says Nathalie Drapeau, director of the intermunicipal board of management of residual waste of the Gaspé peninsula (RITMRG).
To the québec-wide scale, one can think of a volume of 70 000 tonnes of bags of unwanted, and more than 100 000 tonnes, the figures in conservative politics, including other types of plastics without opportunities.
The sorting centers frequently accumulate these plastics for a certain time, and then they send them to the landfill. The costs of burial of about $ 200 a tonne, a variable cost, these 100 000 tonnes are forcing canadians to pay at least $ 20 million per year, in pure loss, only for soft plastics.
Nathalie Flag describes the constraints related to these soft plastics, generally designated as categories 3 to 7.
“Here, it’s been two years since they accumulate. According to the charter, we must welcome them, but there is no market, or very little. We are far from transformers, and we have small volumes and little storage space,” she explains.
More often than not, when the lack of space, the RITMRG is forced to dispose of it to landfill, if any lessee does not occur, which is the standard. This year, however, the bales should find an outlet experimental.
Currently, researchers are trying to check if a part of these plastics could enter into the composition of the asphalt, while another portion could be used to manufacture various objects, including slabs of earthworks.
In November 2019, las see hundreds of tons of plastic make their way to the landfill and cost nearly $ 100,000 per year, the board of directors of the intermunicipal board of management discussed the possibilities to consider these soft plastics as a resource.
“I had the authorization to make an application for financial support to Recyc-Québec for a pilot project. One expects a response in September,” says Drapeau about a project of $135 000.
In the meantime, the RITMRG took the lead and by contacting a firm of experts in “green chemistry”, Consulchem, to identify opportunities for soft plastics, according to a manufacturing and a regional use, thus minimizing the costs of transportation and creating jobs.
Consulchem is supported by the Université Laval and the École de technologie supérieure for the subsequent phases of experimentation.
“There is a phase of analysis to find the best options local use and the realization of the pilot project with the City of Percé. This is where should try to incorporate soft plastics to asphalt. To our knowledge, this is a first in Quebec. This will probably be done in the spring. We think we can incorporate two tons of plastic per kilometre of asphalt. Trials have been made to a parking lot in Nova Scotia,” explains Nathalie Flag.
The manufacture of slabs of earthwork will also be analyzed. “One of the goals of the approach also aims to ensure that the process remains green. The laboratories of the two institutions of education [ETS and the University of Laval] as Consulchem, will find the formulations after testing”, she adds.
The intermunicipal board of management has already a few pioneering initiatives to its credit, including the recovery of glass as an abrasive street and for the manufacture of mulch landscaping.
The future is based, however, on a few principles on which the organization gaspé is also in advance.
“You have to work at the source on the packaging, to ensure that the material arriving to the consumer are easy to reuse and recover. There is still enormous work of outreach to do,” she says.