Recycling Champion: L’Empreinte printing plant



Because recycling is still fairly unknown and everyone’s efforts to reduce the amount of material sent to landfills should be recognized, Cascades launched Wonderful, they recycle! (#wonderfultheyrecycle) on social media. This movement aims to:

  • Recognize positive recycling actions
  • Demystify recycling and offer tips to make life easier while saving our resources
  • Answer questions on recovery and recycling, and show how recycled products are reused
  • Promote industrial clients who have implemented measures to increase their percentage of recycled products.


Now that the movement has been launched, we would like to give you some examples of businesses that, in our eyes, are champions of recycling. One such business is the L’Empreinte printing plant. Why this company? Because they meet the following criteria:

  • Implemented a corporate program directly related to the percentage of recycled materials
  • Implemented strict measures within the organization to maintain a high level of recycling
  • Invested in programs for the recovery of not only paper/cardboard and plastic, but also electronic waste, batteries, fluorescent lamps, etc.


I met Sébastien Chartrand, General Manager of the L’EMPREINTE printing plant in Laval. This company introduced a recycling program within its plant, and it has proven to be a real success.


How long has the L’EMPREINTE printing plant had a recovery monitoring program for recyclable products?

The company has recycled paper and cardboard since it was founded, over ten years ago. However, four years ago, additional efforts were introduced to recycle other materials which normally went to landfill. For example, a structured system has been put in place for recycling plastic, glass and metal used in the cafeteria.

The company now also recycles ink cartridges, pallets, neon lights, batteries and electronic waste. Currently, all materials that can be recycled are recycled.


What is the percentage of recyclable products recovered before and after the program was implemented?

Before we implemented our management systems for non-traditional materials (i.e., materials other than paper and cardboard), the recycling rate was 75%. Now, the rate is around 94%, which is an increase of 19%.

The company believes that the savings from this, based on landfill costs, come to around $1,850 a month, which is $22,200 each year!




What were the main challenges of this implementation?
  • Instilling in employees the necessary rigor to achieve this recycling rate.
  • Communicating regularly with the different company departments to raise awareness of the importance of recycling (in terms of the specific constraints and products with which each department works).


Which measures are currently in place? Specific equipment? Repositioning of collection sites? Others?
  • Each workstation is equipped with the necessary recycling containers (including boxes for batteries).
  • These containers are identified in the cafeteria for recycling, composting and waste.
  • The press area is equipped with rolling containers which are then sent to the compactor.
  • A special area at the plant is reserved for the storage of fluorescent lamps and electronic waste, which are then collected by Cascades.


Which training measures did you set up to incite employees to actively participate?

Jointly with Cascades Recovery, the company has organized various training sessions for employees during which the whole product recycling process was presented. This allows them to understand how the material they recycle is used. In addition, we held a Q&A session and gathered comments from employees in order to maximize collection services while taking into account the specific characteristics of each workstation.


Were the changes difficult to implement?

Not really. When we ran training sessions and requested extra efforts in order to achieve a higher recycling rate, the employees showed their great enthusiasm for being more eco-friendly. In addition, the fact that they have been involved from the start of the process has increased their commitment.


Does your company recognize employees’ engagement to recovery in any way?

We believe that everyone is making the necessary effort and, rather than reward a particular action, we emphasize the sense of pride in working together to integrate sustainable development into the company philosophy.


Any other ideas?

At the end of October, Cascades Recovery carried out a further audit within the company in order to measure the progress made. The results have been presented to the employees and we are now working with them to find areas that can be optimized or developed. We still hope to be able to improve on our 94% recycling rate. We are even working towards a rate of 100%, which would be an important victory in terms of teamwork.


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About the Author
Patrice Clerc

Patrice has been with Cascades since 2003. He began as Project Manager for market and product development with Cascades Specialty Products Group, before becoming Director of Development for the division. In 2007, he joined Cascades Recovery as Manager of Procurement and Services, before being appointed Director of Business Development and Accounts. Patrice is well-known for his determination. His favourite saying is: “If it’s impossible, I’m interested.” Patrice is very involved in waste management in Québec: he sits on various committees and is a regular speaker at events related to the future of the recovery sector. As he says, “What’s the use of knowing things if you don’t share the knowledge?” For the past three years, he has been sharing his passion for recovery and recycling with young people aged 14 to 18 at the CFER in Acton Vale. He also leads team building workshops for businesses, in which he gives people the tools they need to define themselves as individuals. He organizes workshops that take place on a mountain, while hiking toward the peak! “It’s the effort and honesty that we put into what we do that make us creative beings."

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