Quebec to invest $90M to recycle old fridges, air conditioners

About 90 per cent of major appliances like fridges and air conditioners in Quebec are disposed of improperly, says Mathieu Filion, the general manager of a recycling plant in Bécancour.

“[Appliances] contain lots of chemical products, which cause lots of problems to do with climate change and greenhouse gases,” Filion said.

Starting Dec. 5, 2020, Quebec manufacturers will be responsible for recycling major appliances under a new system, Environment Minister Benoit Charette announced Monday.

The measures are part of an amendment to the province’s environmental regulations that will include manufacturers that produce major appliances.

The province is investing $90 million from 2020 to 2031 to fund the program.

“It will be a new system that will that will lead to a better environmental impact for everyone,” Filion told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak.

Refrigerant gases and foam blowing agents are some of the gases that could be released, which can be up to a thousand times worse than carbon dioxide, Filion explained.

“Every appliance that’s disposed of improperly can release those chemicals into the atmosphere.”

Filion said the increase in plastics, gases, oil and electronics in the world comes with a responsibility to ensure the chemicals are being properly disposed of.

“This is a very, very strong leadership that the government is taking now. It’s a first in North America … and we hope that it will have a snowball effect on the rest of the country.”

The CAQ government says the measures could result in a drop of more than 200,000 tonnes per year in greenhouse gas emissions — the equivalent of more than 60,000 cars.


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