- The Plante administration is weighing options as Montreal recycling centres cease operation.
- The timeline for the end of service at the centres is unclear.
Mayor Valérie Plante and her Executive Committee met with representatives from Rebuts Solides Canadiens and the Government of Quebec on Friday to discuss the fate of Montreal's recycling centres. In a press conference, Jean-Francois Parenteau, Verdun's borough mayor and member of the Executive Committee, announced that the city, in collaboration with Rebuts Solides, will cease operations at Montreal's recycling centres. The timeline for when the centres will close is unknown.
This announcement comes as no surprise to Montreal city administrators since the city's contract with Rebuts Solides recently came to an end. Parenteau assures the public that recycling operations in the city will continue, but was vague on details.
"We have plans for the future and have different options, but at this time we're waiting for a final decision from Rebuts Solides Canadiens," said Parenteau.
He underlined that Montrealers will continue to benefit from recycling services as they evaluate other options. Should the facilities close, there are roughly 60 employees at risk of losing their jobs.
Francesco Miele of Ensemble Montreal, the city's official opposition party, called the plan to cease operations at Montreal recycling facilities "completely absurd."
"The administration is at the mercy of Rebuts Solides Canadiens. We learned nothing new and in fact, we're even more worried about the future," said Miele.
"The final decision will come maybe next week, but for now we have to wait," said Parenteau.
Montreal Island is home to two recycling centres, one in St-Michel and one in Lachine. In May 2018, the city invested $29 million to help prevent the St-Michel facility from closing.
"When the city put $29 million to recycling in May 2018, the official opposition warned the Plante administration that we will need a plan B and we asked for new technologies — they did none of that," said Miele.
Miele asserts that Montreal should be an example of how major cities can successfully recycle, but instead, the city has no control and is "left hanging" from Rebuts Solides.
Montreal's recycling centres process an estimated 160,000 tonnes of waste. Parenteau assures the public that the city's recycling won't end up in a landfill while they await Rebuts Solides's decision.
"As soon as Rebuts Solides decides when to cease the operations, we will look for another company to take up the contract," said Parenteau.
The city will be looking for different suppliers who could potentially offer more opportunities to recycle a wider variety of materials.
At the present time, Montreal's recycling efforts are limited to only certain types of metal, glass, paper, and plastic.
"I wish the city would tell us what the plan is. The administration is just a spectator in this. We shouldn't be threatened by a company telling us that they will shut down our recycling centres," said Miele.
Whatever the solution is, Miele asserts that the city would be better served working with another company, perhaps a non-profit, to sort and process recycling waste.
"Locally, we don't even recycle. We collect and then we send it away," said Miele.
According to Miele, Montrealers need to have faith in their recycling industries and at the moment, the Plante administration is proving itself to be very ineffective.
While there are many models that currently exist, the City of Montreal will need to evaluate and come to a solution to this never-ending recycling problem.
In the meantime, the mayor has assured Montrealers that recycling operations will continue while the administration looks for solutions.
"Our recycling will no longer disappear to Asia. We're working closely with the Government of Quebec to find a permanent solution to this problem. Montreal will still collect recycling throughout the week until we find a new contractor," she said Monday.
What she called a "recycling crisis" has been on-going for the better part of two years.
The mayor was criticized by opposition leader Lionel Perez, who called out the governing party. "Project Montreal has proven time and time again that they do not know how to run a city," said Perez on Monday afternoon.