How do rural communities comply with Quebec's Organic Strategy?

Categories: 

by: 

Kevin Brady

Current Situation:

The Québec residual materials management strategy includes a progressive reduction and an eventual a 'ban' of organic material from municipal landfills by 2020. Municipalities that comply with the policy are eligible for funding to help offset the costs. As with the Municipality of Pontiac, many municipalities have chosen to pass resolutions to initiate door-to-door collection, with costs paid for by the residents.

Through communications with Philippe Coulombe at the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, it is understood that at present the 2019 target is 70% coverage to qualify for available funding. He also indicated the ministry is aware that a 100% target will pose challenges for rural communities. There will be further consultations on the strategy, so semi-rural municipalities still have the ability to propose better solutions to the province.
If better solutions are not proposed and accepted, it is possible that many semi-rural municipalities will end up with a costly system that may not actually benefit the environment but will penalize and annoy residents who currently compost at home. It will also mean that these residents will be subsidizing residents who choose not to compost at home.

Main Challenges:
1. Door-to-door collection makes sense in urban environments. However, in regions like the MRC des Collines where we have many homes, farms and equine operations spread across large land areas, it does not. In fact, the environmental and economic impact of sending trucks for door-to-door collection may very well outweigh any benefit. This would have to be verified by life cycle assessment and total cost analysis, but previous studies have noted organics collection in rural areas pose challenges. The current provincial strategy recognizes this by giving communities with a population of under 5,000 people more flexibility on their target.
2. Many people in the municipality already undertake composting at home, so they will have to pay for a service they do not need. This is also not in keeping with the "polluter-pay" principle in the provincial legislation. Door-to-door collection of organics will result in people who are doing the right thing (i.e. composting at home) paying for people who do not.
3. The new system does not address handling difficult components of the organic waste stream, such as animal meats and bones, food-contaminated cardboard and animal and human feces (such as soiled diapers).

Desired outcomes for mainly rural communities above 5,000 in population:
1. Optimize diversion of organic material from landfill at the lowest cost for ratepayers. The best program will reward diversion from landfill at source (the best option in the provincial policy) while putting costs on those who do not want to compost at home. This is in keeping with the "polluter-pays" principle.
2. Raising awareness of the impacts of waste and nudging residents toward great participation in creating a circular economy. A linear economy is a take-make-waste economy; a circular economy is one that ensures that valuable materials and products are recovered from the waste
system and organic materials are returned to the earth. Energy from waste is a possibility but not considered a primary strategy.

Approach with province:
• Ensure targets for collection properly include recognition of already-established home composting (i.e.: to not include collection targets based only on mere number of households covered).
• Ask for adjustments to provincial targets to make them based on population density, not absolute population.
• Recommend the province facilitates collaboration among semi-rural regions to optimize composting contracts and operations.
• Recommend the province support research and approaches for problematic components of the organics waste stream.

Approach in the Municipality and MRC:
• Provide an opt-out option for farmers and people composting: if you do not use the system, you do not pay.
• Conduct an education campaign to encourage home composting. Experience indicates that behaviour change regarding waste diversion requires investments to raise awareness on the importance and benefits of diversion and to provide strategies to optimize results.
• Focus any door-to-door collection on denser neighbourhoods and investigate innovative approaches to community composting.
• Institute penalties for non-compliance but, more importantly, emphasize the financial benefit of those already composting at home.
• Ensure that contracts with organic collection companies are not structured in ways that lock in the number of households or a set volume of waste.

Questions or comments?

Contact Kevin Brady and Sheila McCrindle

Phone:

Kevin: (613) 447 3451 or Sheila: (819) 319 9633

Email:
Brady@sustainableenterpriseconsulting.com
Sheila@demetercatering.ca

 

 

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

The story of a story teller: the Joan Finnigan musical

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by: 

Kate Aley

Joan Finnigan, daughter of Shawville's Frank Finnigan, poet and author of 28 books, died in 2007. Now her legendary stories of life in the Ottawa Valley are brought to life in I Come From the Valley, a new musical by Stone Fence Theatre.

The cast of I Come From the Valley: standing from left, Phil Goden, Luna Nordholdt, Nigel Epps and Jocelyn Smith. Fran Pinkerton, seated, plays Joan Finnigan. Photo courtesy Stone Fence Theatre.

Exhibit featuring close-up paintings of Gatineau Park

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In collaboration with painter Ruby Ewen, we have organised an exhibit featuring close-up paintings of Gatineau Park!

Visiting the exhibit is free and, if you buy a painting, 50% of the proceeds will go to our Cameron-Purenne fund for research with which we fund scientific research in or about the Park!

Come and see these beautiful paintings inspired by our Park!

Where? At the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre.
When? During the Visitor Centre opening hours.

Exposition de peintures présentant le parc de la Gatineau en gros plans

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En collaboration avec l'artiste Ruby Ewen, nous avons mis sur pied une exposition de peintures présentant le parc de la Gatineau en gros plans!

Visiter l'exposition est gratuit et si vous achetez une peinture, 50% des revenues iront à notre fonds Cameron-Purenne avec lequel nous finançons des projets de recherche scientifique dans le Parc ou à propos du Parc!

Venez voir ces belles peintures inspirées par notre parc!

Online Survey: Benefiting from Nature in the Pontiac

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Do you spend time outside enjoying nature?  If so, McGill University PhD student Dalal Hanna would love to hear from you in an anonymous online survey.  She is conducting a research project on the diverse ways people living in the regions of Bristol and Pontiac benefit from nature, and how they would ideally like to benefit from nature in the future. Dalal does this research because it generates information that can help society come up with improved ways to manage the diverse benefits we get from nature. The project seeks to improve knowledge and is purely academic.

The summarized and anonymous findings of the project will also be shared with your community in December 2018 at a gathering, and made available publicly online and to local land use planners.  

Sondage: profiter de la nature dans le Pontiac

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Est-ce que vous passez du temps à apprécier la nature ? Si oui, une étudiante au doctorat à l’Université McGill, Dalal Hanna, a un sondage web anonyme à vous proposer. Elle fait présentement de la recherche sur les diverses façons dont les gens des régions de Bristol et de Pontiac profitent de la nature, et comment ils aimeraient idéalement profiter de la nature dans le futur. Dalal fait cette recherche parce que ça génère de l’information qui peut aider la société à développer des meilleures façons de gérer l’environnent. Son projet cherche à améliorer les connaissances, et est purement académique.

Un sommaire anonyme des résultats sera partagé dans votre communauté en Décembre 2018, ainsi que disponible en ligne.

Si ce projet vous intéresse, s’il vous plait visitez le sondage en ligne ici :

https://surveys.mcgill.ca/ls/793997

Le sondage prend environ 30 minutes à compléter.

Si vous avez des questions, n’hésitez pas à contacter Dalal Hanna par courriel (dalal.hanna@mail.mcgill.ca). Vous pouvez aussi contacter son superviseur de doctorat, Elena Bennett (elena.bennett@mcgill.ca).

Merci énormément pour votre temps !

Early Morning Blaze Destroys Barn in Luskville

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by: 

Thomas Soulière


Pontiac2020.ca reader Nina Lépine-Forget alerted us to the fire and sent us this image of the blaze taken just before the arrival of firefighters to the scene
 

An early morning fire completely destroyed a barn on a farm located at 2002 route 148 (chemin Eardley) in the Luskville sector in the Municipality of Pontiac Monday.

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