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Quebec’s DRS association partners with Tomra to modernize automated beverage collection


Quebec’s DRS association partners with Tomra to modernize automated beverage collection

The Quebec Beverage Container Recycling Association (QBCRA)/Consignaction — the local producer responsibility organization — has entered into a long-term agreement with the global reverse vending technology company Tomra. 

Source: PackagingInsights

This collaboration aims to “modernize” the recovery of redeemable beverage containers in the province, with Tomra providing state-of-the-art technology solutions for approximately 400 Consignaction return sites.

The roll-out of automated collection equipment in Quebec will begin in the first quarter of 2024 and continue over three years. During that time, Tomra will invest approximately NOK430 million (~US$39 million) in the new infrastructure, installing over 1350 machines. 

Consignaction is delighted by this partnership with Tomra Canada, a trusted equipment supplier with a presence in Quebec going back 40 years. The resulting innovative, high-performance and reliable solutions will contribute to the build-out of a robust network of return sites and enhance the experience for Quebecers who return redeemable beverage containers. Making it easier to return beverage containers and improving the customer experience are major factors in helping us achieve our ambitious goal of achieving a 90% recovery rate within ten years.

Normand Bisson, president and CEO at QBCRA/Consignaction

The deployment of Tomra’s equipment is part of the broader plan to enhance recovery methods in Quebec, aligning with the first phase of deposit-refund modernization initiated at the start of this month.

Quebec’s DRS modernization

The deposit-refund modernization in Quebec will unfold in two phases, with Phase 1 encompassing aluminum beverage containers between 100 mL and 2 L. Prior to November 1, the DRS included only drink cans, PET and a small portion of one-way glass. The deposit value has also increased from 5 Canadian cents to 10, except for glass, which has risen to 25 cents.

Phase 2, set for March 2025, will target plastic and glass containers, including water and wine bottles, and multi-layer materials like juice and milk cartons. This expansion will double the number of redeemable containers to 5 billion units, necessitating the establishment of new return sites across Quebec.

The Quebec redemption centers will be equipped with Tomra T9 and T70 reverse vending machines and installations of Tomra’s Expert Line bulk collection technology tailored for consumer interaction. These centers will operate on various models, with smaller centers purchasing the infrastructure and subscribing to a service agreement, while larger centers will function on a throughput revenue model.

Quebec was, until now, a return-to-retail model — supermarkets where drinks are purchased also served as return points — but the province will now move to a hybrid return model with the introduction of return centers, starting in 2024. QBCRA/Consignaction is opening new return sites that will occupy storefront spaces in every region of Quebec.

Today, 11 out of 13 Canadian provinces and territories offer DRS to combat litter, increase recycling and drive a circular economy

Alain Nault, senior vice president and general manager of Tomra Canada

Highlights the progress made by Quebec, positioning itself as a leader in the redeemable beverage container recycling program.

It is inspiring that Quebec is making huge new strides with the modernization of their drink container recycling program, promising to become one of the most efficient systems in the world.

Alain Nault, senior vice president and general manager of Tomra Canada

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