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

Sculpture to be unveiled this Saturday

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by: 

Kate Aley

I was lucky enough to be at the Town Hall when our new sculpture was being installed. I was determined not to take a picture of its exquisite beauty so as to not spoil the effect of its unveiling on Saturday 7th October at 1 pm.

Spoiler alert.

Culture Days exhibit the creative life

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by: 

Kate Aley

Since 1996, the Journé​es de la Culture (Culture Days) have presented admission-free creative activities which are open to all. Two local artists opened their studios to the public on September 29, 30 and October 1 in order to promote greater access to arts and culture.

Discover your creativity with free art lessons for the MoP

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by: 

Kate Aley

Print-making, collage, basketry anyone? The Municipality of Pontiac has funded nine free art lessons in Luskville, Quyon and Breckenridge to sate your artistic appetite this fall. Five teachers from local group Get Art will be teaching a variety of creative skills in three hour lessons over three Saturday afternoons in October. The classes are free and all materials and tools are provided.

The farm gate is open at the UPA Open Door event

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by: 

Kate Aley

Both country folk and city slickers came out for the 15th edition of the L'Union Producteur Agricole (UPA) Open Doors event on Sept 10. Luskville's La Riveraine, the only site within the Municipality of Pontiac, welcomed well over 100 visitors. They were able to tour the farm which dates from 1905, enjoying old machinery, tiny ponies and proud peahens, not to mention sampling some delicious pancakes.

Calling the MoP: come to the Terry Fox Run

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by: 

Kate Aley

Sunday 17, 2017.

When I was a know-nothing student in Australia, we were shown the Terry Fox T.V. movie (The Terry Fox Story, 1983) for religion class.... 

As I knew nothing about almost anything at the time, I didn't even understand it was all true.

Now I know a few more things and now Terry Fox is and will always be my true hero. 

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