Trending: finally, end-of-life solutions for two of our least recyclable products

Summary

As the ongoing effort to mitigate climate change leads many businesses and governments to create a circular economy, we still face a number of roadblocks – namely in the end of life of certain products that weren’t designed for reuse, recycling or safe disposal. But two initiatives announced this week could represent progress.

20Déc.
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First, as part of Québec’s 2013-2020 Action Plan on Climate Change, the Green Fund granted $5 million to assist PureSphera for a project in refrigeration appliance recycling. Recycling refrigerators poses certain challenges due to the presence of halocarbons – strong greenhouse gases – and foam insulation that need to be properly disposed and destroyed.

PureSphera commits to making carbon-pricing part of its business strategy as well, intending to obtain offset credits with its work to exchange on the carbon market.

“Our government’s support for energy efficiency and innovation measures like the PureSphera project will have benefits for everyone,” said Pierre Arcand, Québec’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. “Besides improving our energy balance, it stimulates the economy in every region of Québec.”

By December 31, 2014, nearly 460,000 appliances had been withdrawn from the market and recycled in accordance with applicable environmental standards, and this funding will accelerate these efforts further. Québec is also leading in the area of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), by obliging companies that market electronic products, batteries, fluorescent lamps, oils and paints to recover and reclaim them at the end of their useful life.

« By adding large appliances to the list of products subject to EPR, we will stimulate the search for innovative solutions in manufacturing that are less harmful to the environment,” said David Heurtel, Québec’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change. “In this way, not only will we reduce our environmental footprint, we will contribute to modernizing Québec’s economy. We need to continue working together along those lines to build a better, greener, more responsible world for our children. »

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