Perfect waste management

Categories: 

by: 

Sheila McCrindle

There is an old saying among environmentalist “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  This applies whenever solutions to environmental problems are being devised. Especially solutions involving human behaviour.  It means that just because a solution is not perfect does not mean it is not good.  Dealing with household organic waste is just such an example.

  There are definitely challenges to composting organic waste at home, but they are not insurmountable.  Plant wastes are pretty easy to compost, a decent composting bin the occasional turning over of the material in it and removal of good compost at the bottom.  Anyone who can separate their waste into a special bin and take that bin to the edge of the road is already doing the same amount of work.  But, you might ask, what about animal food scraps, bones and fat and the like, they don’t go in most composters.  And that is right, composting animal scraps is challenging and requires more expensive composting equipment.  But this is where we get to the perfect being the enemy of the good.  If it is good to home-compost plant material, is it good enough?

It is helpful to have some numbers.  Thanks to Recic-Quebec, we can look at a waste characterization study done for the MRC de Robert-Cliché, a region with characteristics similar to MoP.

The results of the study indicated that organic waste made up between 43 and 64% of the waste generated by households and 30% of the waste generated by farms.  However almost all of that material is garden waste and household waste that can be composted at home (their terminology).  The volume of waste not suitable for backyard composting ranged from 0.5% to 6% for households and was 0% for farms.

So if the vast amount of organic waste can be composted at home, why is this not the preferred solution for our Municipality?  It is seems expensive to send big trucks hundreds of kms, emitting pollution and damaging roads in order to get 1 or 2% of household waste.  Are we letting the perfect be the enemy of the good?

Coda: It is worth noting that perfect diversion rarely happens, even after years of curbside collection of recyclables about 20 – 25% of our garbage stream is material that should be in the recycle bin.

Footnote: The Waste Characterization Study for MRC de Robert-Cliché has been shared with all of the Municipal Councillors and the Mayor. If you are interested in seeing the whole report just ask one of them.

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

Quebec’s anticorruption unit investigating contracts between school board and construction company

Categories: 

Western Quebec School Board Director of Buildings and Transportation Colin O’Shea has been placed on “administrative leave” with pay, as Quebec’s Permanent Anticorruption Unit (UPAC) investigates a link between the school board and 31 contracts worth $33 million awarded to GMR Construction and Toitures Marcel Raymond over the past 10 years. The majority of these contracts were signed by O’Shea himself.

Collision entre un train et un autobus: six morts

Categories: 

Une violente collision entre un train de VIA Rail et un autobus à deux étages d'OC Transpo a fait au moins six morts et une trentaine de blessés, mercredi matin à Ottawa, en pleine heure de pointe.

L'accident est survenu à un passage à niveau, à la hauteur de l'avenue Woodroffe et du chemin Fallowfield, non loin de la station de transport en commun du même nom, vers 8h50, dans le secteur Barrhaven.

Via Rail train, Ottawa city bus crash leaves 6 dead

Categories: 

A crash between a Via Rail train and a double-decker transit bus in Ottawa has resulted in six deaths, including the bus driver, and left 30 injured.

The OC Transpo bus Route 76, destined for downtown Ottawa, was travelling north on the Transitway when it collided with Train 51, which came from Montreal and was heading west to Toronto.

Ancient landslides offer clues to powerful earthquake that rattled Ottawa

Categories: 

Very close to 1000 AD, an earthquake estimated at a magnitude of 6.1 — or possibly stronger — shook this region enough to cause 10 major landslides.

One of them, at Quyon, covered an area of 31 square kilometres stretching back from the Ottawa River along the Quyon River valley.

And scientist Gregory Brooks, who studied the slides, says the same seismic conditions are present today.

That means a big earthquake like the one Brooks studies, though very rare, could happen again.

Les citoyens du secteur d'Aylmer débattent

Categories: 

«Il faut intégrer tous les modes de transport dans le secteur d'Aylmer. On a besoin dun plan de déplacement et aussi créer un comité permanent sur le transport à la Ville. Avec ça, on pourra mieux préparer et structurer les idées pour les mettre en oeuvre», a indiqué M. Powles.

Pour ce qui touche au développement résidentiel, les participants étaient nombreux à faire mention de l'aspect patrimonial. Le secteur d'Aylmer est le seul à avoir conservé un «bon état de son passé».

Pages