Perfect waste management

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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

A Tale of Two Approaches

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by: 

Sheila McCrindle and Kevin Brady

See Also: When you live in a place without curbs, does it make sense to have ‘curbside’ collection of compost?

The MRC des Collines de Gatineau is comprised of 7 municipalities. The smallest Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette is small enough to be exempt from complying with the Provincial Residuals Strategy. The two most densely populated, Cantley and Chelsea, have respectively 83 and 60 people per square kilometre. These two municipalities also have the highest median household income by a considerable margin.

When you live in a place without curbs, does it make sense to have ‘curbside’ collection of compost?

Categories: 

by: 

Sheila McCrindle and Kevin Brady


Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Québec residual materials management strategy includes a progressive reduction and eventually a “ban” of organic material from municipal landfills by 2020.  Municipalities who comply with the policy are eligible for funding to help offset the costs.   The Municipality of Pontiac has responded by passing a resolution to initiate door to door collection with costs paid for by the residents. 

Pontiac Community Gym hopes to open by end of year

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by: 

Kate Aley

Despite some setbacks and delays, work continues on the building on Clarendon Street that will house the Pontiac Community Gym. Coordinator Rachelle Dinelle gave Pontiac2020.ca an update.

Dedicated volunteer recognized with Governor General's medal

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by: 

Kate Aley

Luskville's Hélène Belisle (above) has been an extraordinary force for good in the Pontiac for decades. She has served as councilor for the Municipality of Pontiac, as a school board commissioner for the Commission scolaire des portages-de-l'Outaouais (CSPO), instigated and still facilitates the breakfast club at Notre Dame-de-la-Joie in Luskville, all while operating her own small business, Salon Chez Hélène. On September 11, Belisle was awarded the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers, which recognizes exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians through the office of the Governor General of Canada.

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

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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.

Another community hub lost: Depanneur Poirier closes down

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by: 

Kate Aley

Depanneur Poirier, at the intersection of the highway and Ch. des Pères-Dominicains, has closed. The last day of business was Thursday 22 but the owners, Janet and Jack Deschenes have been emptying shelves for weeks.

Bunny fun: Luskville playgroup celebrates Easter

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by: 

Kate Aley

Spring is here we're told, but it's still so gray and cold outside. Where can you take your under 5's when you have exhausted all the DVD options? To the free playgroup in Luskville, of course.

Above from left, Comité 0-5 animator Lisa Corrigan with personal friend Helga the rabbit and an ardent admirer at the Luskville playgroup's Easter event.

Walk right in: renovations to Family Centre ensure better, safer service

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by: 

Kate Aley

Better than a new welcome mat, a shining floor now greets visitors to the Maison de la Famille in Quyon, thanks to funding from the Ministère de la Famille. A new epoxy surface was poured last week, creating a seamless floor running though out the reception area, the Clothing Counter, kitchen and laundry.

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