ÉEQ takes innovative glass works plan to next level in Quebec
Initiative to help companies manufacture added-value products containing recycled glass for existing and emerging markets in North America
Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ) took advantage of its participation in the Salon des technologies environnementales du Québec to present the latest component of its Innovative Glass Works plan. ÉEQ is offering $1.2 million to help companies manufacture added-value products containing recycled glass for existing and emerging markets in North America.
The Innovative Glass Works plan announced last January provides a concrete solution for 100% of glass collected via curbside recycling in order to take up the many challenges posed by glass recycling in Quebec. The first measure announced in January, which consisted in providing sorting centres with state-of-the-art equipment as part of demonstration projects, is already showing great success and has attracted the interest of three-quarters of all sorting centres in Quebec.
"After an analysis of the North American market, we identified many innovative outlets for glass collected via curbside recycling in addition to traditional processes involving glass bottle remelting and mineral wool production. Those emerging markets have very promising economic potential that will diversify opportunities for using recycled glass as well as enable Quebec to acquire unique expertise and become a veritable centre for excellence with regard to glass recycling. Our members are pleased to provide significant financial support to companies who wish to take up the challenge of glass processing and recycling. In fact, it may even turn into an opportunity to contribute to a prosperous and durable circular economy in Quebec," explained Maryse Vermette, ÉEQ's President and CEO.
New market development
From the total $6.7 million envelope announced in January, $1.2 million will be allocated to support market development. Businesses with an establishment in Quebec can receive financial assistance as well as technical and commercial support to help them market products that include recycled glass collected via curbside recycling.
In an effort to guide organizations wishing to take advantage of this opportunity, ÉEQ gathered data on existing and potential markets for recycled glass.
"There is no shortage of ideas, believe me!" exclaimed Jean-Luc Plante, ÉEQ's Vice-President, Optimization. "Water filtration, foam glass, cement additives and glass abrasives are only a few examples of outlets that are already well-established elsewhere in the world, especially in Europe. We know that developing markets for such innovative products requires significant investments, whether for product certification, testing and prototyping, or the development of a business strategy. That's why we wanted the Innovative Glass Works plan to include a component for financing market outlet development. Another benefit is that, once in place, our local market outlets will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to transporting glass over long distances."
A material with many advantages
The benefits of using recycled glass in new product manufacturing go far beyond the simple principle of reusing containers. Glass has many practical characteristics that improve the products it is added to. One example is glass used as an abrasive. In addition to providing a better finish than traditional materials, glass is far less dangerous for workers' health because it does not contain free silica or heavy metals.
In water filtration applications, glass not only performs better and has a longer life than traditional products, it prevents the proliferation of bacteria. Glass powder provides excellent competitive advantages whether used as foamed glass or as a cement additive. Detailed information sheets on potential markets for added value glass are available in ÉEQ's.