Almost 21 tons of empty cannabis containers were returned to SQDC for recycling

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There is no deposit on SQDC containers, except for drinks.

Author of the article:

The Canadian press

Stephanie Marin

The Société québécoise du Cannabis uses multiple layers of packaging for safety reasons, it says. The Société québécoise du Cannabis uses multiple layers of packaging for safety reasons, it says. Photo by John Mahoney /Montreal Gazette files

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Are Cannabis Lovers Green? In less than a year, they returned almost 21 tons of empty plastic containers to the Société québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC) for recycling.

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More precisely, according to SQDC, 2,291,143 containers were recycled in the period 2020-21. Since the recycling program for all of its packaging did not begin until August 2020, the number does not even cover a full year.

How high this proportion of containers sold is, however, cannot be said: the state-owned company does not want to say that for “commercial” reasons.

No deposit is charged on SQDC containers, except for drinks that are included in the RECYC-QUÉBEC shipping system. Quebecers who return containers to SQDCs branches don’t get any money for it: it just means the containers don’t end up in the trash.

The SQDC says one benefit of returning empty containers is that they are not contaminated by other materials that end up in blue boxes, for example. It also states that sending consistent material to companies that process it means it is easier to reuse.

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The SQDC has teamed up with TerraCycle, a US recycling company, and supports the idea of ​​converting its containers into street furniture such as park benches or flower boxes. TerraCycle can also recycle bags that could otherwise end up in landfills.

Still, it is impossible to verify this information and know what happened to these containers or how many were used to make other products, according to the Canadian press: TerraCycle did not respond to emails or phone calls.

SQDC says it wants to go further with its environmental efforts. “We are also working with experts in sustainable development to create an action plan for greener containers and packaging,” it recently said on his Facebook page.

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The SQDC has been criticized for the fact that several of its products are viewed as “overpacked” and not ecologically sustainable. It is aware of this and the packaging, especially of plastic containers in cardboard boxes, is required by “strict” regulations in Canada, which are intended to “prevent unintentional consumption and discourage children and young people from consuming cannabis products”.

Some customers want to see packaging recycling bins outside SQDC stores so they don’t have to queue to return empty bins; others say they are embarrassed to return multiple containers. For its part, SQDC says it cannot guarantee control over materials placed in outdoor containers.

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