Montreal expands reach of compost collection in effort to divert waste from landfills

The city will also be collecting compost from certain institutions and businesses as, after a pandemic-induced delay, officials continue taking strides toward their ultimate goal of having a zero waste city by 2030.

Now buildings of 9 or more dwellings will be eligible in certain sectors

Jean-François Parenteau handles the executive committee's city services file. He says it is absolutely essential that people do their part and participate in the program. (Radio-Canada)

In an effort to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills, Montreal will begin collecting compost from residential buildings with nine or more units.

The city will also be collecting compost from certain institutions and businesses as, after a pandemic-induced delay, officials continue taking strides toward their ultimate goal of establishing a zero waste city by 2030.

"We know now that the landfills we have for putting the garbage in will be full in the next 10 years. So we need another option," said Jean-François Parenteau on Wednesday. He's the executive committee member in charge of city services.

However, Parenteau said the only way this effort will prove fruitful is if people do their part by tossing leftovers in their brown bins.

For now, six boroughs will be participating in the expansion of collection:

  • Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
  • Pierrefonds—Roxboro.
  • Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
  • Saint-Léonard.
  • Saint-Laurent.
  • LaSalle.

The services will be offered only to certain sectors of each borough, starting gradually until the fall.

Collecting compost from large buildings by the end of 2025 is part of the city's plan for managing residual waste. The city is looking to collect from some 350,000 dwellings in buildings of nine or more units by that time.

Residents of buildings with eight or fewer units — some 600,000 units in all —  have had access to organic waste collection since lat year.

When it comes to collecting from certain businesses and institutions, municipal buildings and schools will be the primary target for now. By 2025, the city aims to offer compost collection at a rate of once per week to 30,000 businesses and institutions.

In 2020, more than 60 schools composted and 90 schools will be served (mainly primary and secondary schools) in 2021.

Throughout the development of the city's compost collection programming, local organizations have had the mandate to build awareness in the community, educating the population to the service. That effort was made more complicated by public health restrictions.

In the near future, the city says in a statement, Montreal will be deploying new communication tools to reach out to the entire population about organic waste collection.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

In the statement, Parenteau says people need to adjust to the new normal of setting aside their food waste and putting it out on the curb on the right day of the week.

He describes it as an "opportunity for everyone to participate concretely in this social project that is the ecological transition."

The city says collecting food waste will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 and help the city become carbon neutral by 2050.

Composting helps to reduce greenhouse gases emissions and limits the risk of groundwater contamination, the city says.

The compost is used as a high-quality soil that can be distributed to residents, used by the city and given to farmers in the region.

Ultimately, much of the city's organic waste will be diverted to on-island processing plants that will turn that waste into natural gas. Those plants are under construction.


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