Paint Recovery in Quebec
In 2001, the Government of Quebec adopted a Regulation for the recovery and reclamation of discarded paint and paint containers, thereby creating an obligation for all businesses selling architectural paint in Quebec to recover, or have recovered, residual paint and their containers. As a result, paint producers and brand owners in Quebec created Éco-Peinture in order to meet this obligation.
How It All Started
Paint recovery in Quebec started at the beginning of the ‘90s as a project by students at the Centre de formation en entreprise et récupération (CFER) in Victoriaville. Under the guidance of the late Normand Maurice, the project led to the creation of Peintures Récupérées du Quebec, an organization dedicated to recycling leftover paint. Mr. Maurice, then a teacher at the CFER, was an educator in the strict sense of the word and most of all a great visionary. Concerned with the serious school dropout problem, as well as the deterioration of our environment and the enormous quantity of waste produced every day, this entrepreneur understood that “new resources could be created out of waste.” With his students, he undertook to recover the residual paint of citizens and manufactures in order to create new paint.
1997 - A First Business Association with the Paint Industry
As our society is conscious of the problems generated by the disposal of millions of tons of waste in landfill sites, paint industry companies chose to assume their responsibilities with regard to the products they market, thus avoiding the disposal of paint residues and their containers in waste disposal sites. They decided to take on the recovery and the reclamation of leftover paint on a voluntary basis, in the absence of a regulation. In 1998, the members of the industry would support the CFER paint recycling project with an investment of $1.2 million.
Adoption of a Regulation
On January 1, 2001, the government adopted the Regulation respecting the recovery and reclamation of discarded paint and paint containers, established by the Environment Quality Act, thus making it mandatory for all businesses marketing architectural paint to recover, or have recovered, its residual material. In order to fulfill their duty, paint producers and brand owners, with the approval of the Ministry of the Environment, implemented Éco-Peinture, a Quebec company for the ecological management of paint.
On July 2011, the new Regulation respecting the recovery and reclamation of products by businesses came into effect and replaced the existing Regulation. This new Regulation continues to apply the “extended producer responsibility” principle to paints and oils, but includes new categories of products like cell phones and batteries, mercury lamps and electronic products.
The leftover paint recovery program implemented by Éco-Peinture is currently active in 700 municipalities and MRCs in Quebec. It is considered to be one of the most effective and efficient networks in the world. Accessible through Ecocentres, municipal garages, ressourceries and other municipal programs, as well as through hardware, building materials and home renovation retailers and paint stores, the Éco-Peinture network has close to 1200 drop-off points that are open to the public. In addition, Éco-Peinture provides paint recovery services to the industrial, commercial and institutional sector (ICI). From the start of the program, more than 71 million kilograms of leftover paint and paint containers have been recovered by our organization, and 6 million kilograms is recovered and diverted from landfills every year.