NAFEM working to identify solution to Quebec’s new recycling/reclamation rule

by Dec. 5, CRE sellers must have approved recycling plans in place

Canada’s Quebec province added commercial refrigeration equipment to its recycling/reclamation legislation, requiring each seller (or enterprise) to operationalize plans by Dec. 5. The legislation requires sellers to have or be a member of a program that allows products to be returned to the seller or a designated recycler that will certify products are recycled in an approved manner. It applies to refrigerators, freezers, refrigerated vending machines, ice machines, food displays, dairy bar equipment, cooling cells, beverage centers and beverage coolers. It does not include used appliances or anything heavier than 300 kilograms or 660 pounds, walk-ins, or products that are less than 2.5 cubic feet.

NAFEM has been working toward a solution with the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), the affiliated organization of the U.S. Air-Conditioning, Hearing and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). Recently, conversations expanded to include Costco Canada and the Retail Council of Canada (RCC).

NAFEM and these allies are working with the Quebec Ministry of Environment and Fight Against Climate Change to learn more about this regulation and what it requires. NAFEM-member companies that sell in Quebec and would like to participate in any upcoming meetings on this issue should contact Charlie Souhrada, CFSP, vice president of technical and regulatory affairs.

Additionally, Quebec Provincial Environment Minister Benoit Charette recently said plans are underway to require producers to make sure at least 70 percent of their packaging materials are recycled by 2025 and 90 percent by 2030. The government plans to spend $30 million over the next three years to upgrade recycling facilities and support innovative ways to promote recycling and reduce reliance on single-use plastics.

NAFEM-member companies should be aware that laws like those addressed above could be a bellwether to future, similar laws potentially enacted elsewhere in Canada or the U.S. Similar efforts already are underway in British Columbia and Ontario. In the U.S., Maine is the first state to pass an extended producer responsibility law requiring companies that create consumer packaging to pay for the cost of recycling it. The revenue will be used to fund statewide recycling programs. A similar bill in Oregon awaits the governor’s signature and 10 other states are considering comparable legislation.