Quebec spending $650M to cut waste

Quebec is introducing ambitious measures to cut household trash and divert organic waste currently dumped in the province's landfills.

Quebec is introducing ambitious measures to cut household trash and divert organic waste currently dumped in the province's landfills.

Quebec wants to eliminate paper and cardboard from landfills. ((CBC))
The province's Liberal government said it wants to ban "green" and recyclable waste from landfills within a decade, starting with paper and cardboard by 2013.

The measure will help Quebecers achieve the government's other green goal: to cut average household waste from 810 to 700 kilograms per year.

Organic waste will be diverted to yet-to-be-built composting centres around the province, Environment Minister Line Beauchamp said at a news conference in Candiac on Monday, where she announced Quebec's new trash plan.

"This is an ambitious project for managing household waste," said Beauchamp, who sported a Quebec-designed dress made of recycled materials. "It offers a complete view of the situation that is coherent and that is financially doable."

The province is setting aside $650 million for new municipal composting and recycling facilities, which will also be able to handle electronic products, batteries and mercury-filled light bulbs.

The green waste plan is designed to maximize the recuperation, recycling and revaluing of household waste, while simultaneously creating jobs, Beauchamp said. She estimated that every tonne of recycled material creates 10 times the number of jobs compared with the same amount of garbage.

Environment Minister Line Beauchamp says Quebec's new waste plan is 'coherent and financially doable.' ((CBC))
The new municipal composting facilities should create up to 5,000 new jobs in the next decade, she said.

Companies that produce recyclable materials will have to pay for recuperation facilities as a way to discourage overpackaging.

"Within five years, [the Quebec consumer] will see his or her municipality, if it's not already happening, propose organic waste collection," Beauchamp said. "They should also see new drop-off points for some products that are harder to recycle, such as electronics and batteries. They should see less packaging, too."

Quebec is also earmarking $20 million to improve recycling triage centres, and $10 million to support smaller recycling companies.

The province's plan was praised by at least one environmental group.

"Ten years, that can seem like a long way away, but if we're using the word 'ban,' as in we're not going to bury organic waste anymore, that's very, very important, because green waste generates greenhouse gases, and every environmentally minded group in Quebec wants to see those reduced," said Karel Ménard, director of the Front commun québécois pour une gestion écologique des déchets, an umbrella organization that monitors waste management.