The Québec government recently tabled the draft Regulation respecting the reuse of water containers with a capacity exceeding 8 litres that was published in the Gazette Officielle du Québec of July 11, 2007. The purpose of the draft Regulation is to require that containers with a capacity exceeding 8 litres used to market water intended for human consumption be designed and manufactured to be refilled a number of times during their useful life. It also aims to reduce the volume of residual materials produced and to promote source reduction and reuse. According to the draft Regulation, reusable containers are required to be handled by a recovery system and bear a clear indication that they are returnable and reusable. For the purpose of the draft Regulation, the expression "to market" means to offer for sale, sell, distribute or otherwise make available to consumers. If adopted, the Regulation provides that in case of non-compliance, offenders will face a fine of $2,000 to $25,000 for a natural person and of $5,000 to $150,000 for a legal person, these fines being doubled in the case of a second or subsequent offence.
The intent of the government, from an environmental perspective, is thus to prevent the emergence of a new market for large non-refillable containers that would substantially increase the number of containers used to market bottled water. It is also intended to prevent an increase in the volume of residual materials going to landfill and thereby alleviate storage and handling problems for municipal recovery services.
Comments can be made until September 11, 2007.