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

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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. 

We spoke with Philippe Coulombe, the person in charge of the province’s Residual Materials Strategy, and he indicated that the Ministry is aware that a 100% organics diversion target will pose challenges for rural communities. Currently the target for organic diversion is set at 70% for 2019. The Province will be holding further consultations and rural municipalities still have the ability to propose better solutions than following the urban model.

Now we have nothing against composting. Like many people, we have been composting for decades. It is pretty easy to do, keeps down the amount of garbage we put out and we get fertilizer for the garden. We are all for composting. We just can’t see the benefit of trucks going door to door to collect it when sometimes there are several kilometers between doors.

Pontiac had a population of 5,850 in 2016, just a little over the arbitrary cut-off for being a small municipality. The actual population density for Pontiac, which is what matters when costing a trucking route, is 13 people per square kilometer. By comparison the Municipality of Chelsea, with a population of just 1000 more people, has a population density of 61 people per square kilometre.

The first problem with collecting organic waste in a mostly rural community is that a lot of households already compost their plant waste. So there is not much stuff to collect.

The second problem with curbside collection, when the population is so dispersed, is that the negative impacts associated with garbage trucks travelling hundreds of kilometers a week starts to outweigh the benefits of removing organic waste from the waste stream.

The third and in our view most offensive problem with this scheme is that people who are already composting and doing a good thing for the environment and the economy will be asked to pay the bill for people who are not composting. This flies in the face of the Polluter Pay Principle, which is supposed to guide waste management policy in Quebec.

What is the Solution?

  1. Encourage home composting. Providing state of the art composting bins to every household in the Municipality will be cheaper in the long-run than ongoing collection. Implement an education program to teach people to compost at home.
  2. For residents who do not want to compost at home, a system of centralized collection bins should be investigated, so that trucks are not driving to houses to pick up nothing.

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

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.

André Fortin nominated as Liberal candidate for Pontiac

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by: 

Kate Aley

The auditorium of Onslow Elementary School was filled with supporters of MNA for Pontiac André​ Fortin on Saturday March 10. The gathering marked the re-nomination of Fortin to represent the Liberal party in the upcoming provincial elections. Community members, councilors for the Municipality of Pontiac and MRC Pontiac mayors and wardens, both past and present, were in attendance.

Community coffee: church offers warm drinks and warm reception

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by: 

Kate Aley

It is indisputably still cold outside, baby.  Éric Hébert-Daly, the new student minister at Quyon United Church, has a new idea to warm all of us up. 

On Monday 12, and on every Monday from now, Hébert-Daly will be opening the doors of the church at 1088 Clarendon Street in Quyon (next to the Post Office) between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to offer warm drinks at no charge.

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