Tuesday, March 20, was the official launch date for Second Cycle, a new company fully committed to managing discarded materials from industry, commerce and institutions (ICI). Cascades was present, as we were one of the first companies to support the initiative, and we took the floor to explain the partnership’s current and potential benefits.
Second Cycle found a very interesting niche in which to do business: waste. It’s a pretty good bet that if you’re a manufacturer, you generate material for which you have yet to find an outlet. Cascades faces the same challenge. Our different activities generate thousands of tonnes of residual materials. We already have a multi-matter management system in place at each of our units, which allows us to recover 19 different categories of matter: from plastic straps to electrical wires, including matter that is considered to be dangerous, such as waste oil and batteries—everything that can be managed easily. Over the years, we have also been able to find avenues for residual materials like de-inking sludge, which is used as a liming agent to enrich poor soils. But paper and cardboard production creates several other more disparate types of residual materials for which our efforts to find recycling businesses have so far been unfruitful.
Second Cycle brings together generators of residual materials and recycling businesses. Just like the classified ad website Les PAC, Second Cycle is a portal that allows you to put an ad up, which others can find by conducting a keyword, category or business-segment search. The portal therefore provides us with a great opportunity to gain exposure for our less traditional residual materials. It bears mentioning that the recycling industry is also subject to regional constraints, as recycling businesses are not in a position to travel from one area to the next to ask each company about their materials potential. So, in addition to providing a number of benefits for ICI, Second Cycle makes the jobs of all of those small, local recyclers easier. Further, considering average landfill costs in Quebec are about $100 per tonne, trying this networking site doesn’t cost much and may even let you turn a profit.
Cascades currently recovers about 64% of residual materials from production. We believe we could find outlets for half of the materials still buried in landfills. Materials currently advertised include wooden cutting templates, plastic and metal printing templates, paper dust, printing blankets and papermaker felts.
Much to our delight, in a short period of time, our connection to the portal has already had a positive impact. An artist group, Culture Centre-du-Québec, recently contacted us about a contest they put on called “Artisans en la matière” (“Material artisans” – French only), where artists must recover certain types of materials to create a work of art and we have sent samples of materials to interested parties. We will keep you posted as their projects unfold because we believe such initiatives are worth knowing about.
In conclusion, we’d like to congratulate the team at Second Cycle for addressing the well-known problem of waste management and for their work promoting the concept of industrial ecology, where one’s output becomes another’s input. They’re setting a great example.