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How our La Doré sawmill reduced landfill waste by 98%

Reduced landfill waste

The first sawmill in Quebec to be listed as a Level 3 recycler, La Doré was already managing its 3-Rs well. But when it tackled the plastics problem, its waste diversion from landfills more than doubled.

Resolute employee Mario Laprise is sometimes surprised by all the attention the La Doré (Quebec) sawmill is receiving over its recycling practices. After all, the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region sawmill, with 237 employees, has been an active recycler for years. But it was recently celebrated by the region’s Environment and Sustainability Council (CREDD) as an example of how large industrial players are making a big difference.

This fall, La Doré demonstrated an impressive 98% reduction in the amount of waste it diverted from landfill. It was also the first sawmill in Quebec to receive a Recyc-Quebec Level 3 designation in 2010. And now, our Mistassini, Girardville and Saint-Félicien operations also have this designation.

WHAT’S A LEVEL 3 RECYCLER? Recyc-Quebec has three levels in its program designed for commercial establishments. Level 1 = engagement; Level 2 = an operation undertaking initiatives; and Level 3 = an operation conducts assessments and actual waste reduction is clearly demonstrated.

Mario Laprise says it wasn’t difficult to attain a Level 3 initially because much of the excess material on site was already being sent to secondary markets. For example, metal from maintenance work is typically sent to a recycler, and a mixture of off-cuts, bark and soil from harvested trees is refined and sold to a nearby co-generation facility and several farms, including a number of blueberry growers. But plastic was an unresolved issue.

HYDRAULIC PRESS PACKS UP PLASTICS. Previously, the plastic wrapping and bags that form a lot of the plastic waste were mostly loose and inefficiently packaged, which made suppliers reluctant to collect it. So La Doré acquired a hydraulic press. While it is used to bundle cardboard, the press also compacts plastic bags and loose plastic items into transportable blocks.

“Our suppliers had recovery targets as well so it was just a matter of figuring out how to do it,” says Laprise. By entering into agreements with vendors, La Doré has managed to divert a significant amount of other plastics.

HOW VENDORS CAN HELP. In 2013, La Doré shredded 12.1 metric tonnes of polyester strapping by chopping it into two-inch pieces and storing it in bins, which the mill’s suppliers could then collect and send out for recycling. The mill also organized an arrangement for the giant plastic rollers that hold wrapping paper. Now, instead of going to a landfill they are shipped back to the supplier for reuse.

Want to know more about La Doré’s recycling program? Read details here (in French only).

We wrote about La Doré last November as a Sawmill of the Future.

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