Arista and Norampac shine the spotlight on young entrepreneurs

The ARISTA Provincial Competition recognizes, encourages and promotes the success and excellence of young business people in Québec.

On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, in front of an audience of more than 400 business leaders, the Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal (JCCM) announced the seven winners of the 36th edition of the ARISTA Provincial Competition.

Marc-André Dépin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norampac, served as Honorary President for the event. The ARISTA Provincial Competition recognizes, encourages and promotes the success and excellence of young business people in Québec aged 18 to 40, including executives, entrepreneurs, professionals and self-employed workers.

We are proud to support the young generation of entrepreneurs in Québec. We played an active role in organizing the event as a sponsor, and created decorative elements for the evening, all made from cardboard!

The winners of the contest all stand out for their innovative spirits, determination and passion. These young business people represent the Québec of tomorrow—what an impressive group of committed young entrepreneurs this province has! Of special interest to us was the competition category dedicated to young socially responsible leaders.


The 2013 winner in this category is Eric Castro, President and co-owner of Recyc-Mattresses Inc. For the past ten years, Eric Castro has been hard at work in the business of waste management and recycling, making a name for himself across North America and Europe. His company now operates seven plants that specialize in recycling used mattresses, box springs and futons. These bulky objects are taken apart and the raw materials are recovered and sold to various businesses where they are given a second life. This unique process presents a genuine alternative to sending them to landfill. Since 2007, three million used mattresses and box springs have been recycled in Canada alone. Castro’s pride in his work is clear, as he announces that 95% of the materials that enter his plants are recycled.

Recyc-Mattresses is the first Québec-based company to achieve profitability in the business of recycling mattresses. Thanks to investments in research and development and the creation of equipment designed specifically for their unique recycling process, Castro and his team were able to forge partnerships with a number of mattress manufacturers and retailers, as well as numerous municipalities, hotels and hospitals.

Since its creation, Recyc-Mattresses has been partners with the retail store Dormez-vous, which runs a recovery program for old mattresses that has diverted tens of thousands of mattresses from landfill every year. Castro recognizes the immense potential for recovery in Québec, Canada and the United States. Unfortunately, not all municipalities are willing to put in as much effort as others when it comes to making positive change for the environment. But Recyc-Mattresses is in full swing, and wants to achieve even more. Castro would like to see laws passed to regulate mattress disposal, as the situation in the dumps is a real disaster: mattresses are bulky and take up a lot of room, yet relatively lightweight and cheap to bury.

He would also like for the price of recycling a mattress to be set at the same amount it currently costs to send it to a landfill site. Based on the company’s growth so far, and Castro’s incredible energy and passion when he speaks of his plans, it’s safe to bet that Recyc-Mattresses will continue to thrive across North America!

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About the Author
Geneviève Boyer

Geneviève serves as the Communications Coordinator for Norampac, a corporate division of Cascades. She joined the team in 2006, not long after completing her studies at the Université de Montréal with a BA in Communications and Political Sciences. She also boasts a management degree from Montreal's HEC Business School. A dedicated humanitarian, Geneviève enjoys taking on a wide variety of challenges. "Communicating effectively within a corporation is a mission I take very much to heart, and one which covers a lot of different issues – including dealing with the media, day-to-day operations and employee concerns. I appreciate the opportunity I have been given, since the beginning of my career, to work for a company which fosters and encourages creativity. It's very satisfying, for example, to have had a personal influence on projects such as the videos we produce to ensure a safe, healthy work environment."

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