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

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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

Riding in style: massive upgrade to Pontiac bus route

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Kate Aley

It's smooth and it's quiet with internet access, a 36" flat screen TV and reclining seats and it leaves Allumette Island at 10 minutes to 5 am every day. This is the new coach that runs Route 148 and you can be on it. This week, riders taking the Campeau Bus Line to the city were treated to a brand-new luxury coach, a demonstration vehicle in service before the permanent vehicle becomes available in about a weeks time.

Slipping back: background facts

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Kate Aley

Welcome back. While I wait for my file on the accident (December 4) to be retrieved by the MRC des Collines police, I placed calls to two local people, experts on the trucking of manure. For those who are coming in late to this, see my previous "slippery" stories archived here.

Slippery story: the update

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Kate Aley

On Monday December 4, a serious accident was caused by some kind of slippery fluid being splashed all over the highway in Luskville. Many people commented on the unexpectedly deep puddles, the effort it took to stay on the road and the horrible stink of it. There was so much, a snow plow was called in to strip it off the road. What was that stuff? Where did it come from? I managed to find someone to talk to from the MTQ within two days. But as yet, my attempts to get information about this incident from the MRC des Collines police have been unproductive. 

Warming up for Christmas at the Santa Claus Parade

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Kate Aley

Once more the Quyon Lions' Club Santa Claus Parade, held Saturday December 9, was a great success. Warmly-dressed families lined the streets to enjoy the decorated floats, horses and of course, St. Nick himself. As the Beach Barn is conspicuously absent this year, the parade's normal route was reversed, with participants gathering at the Ste. Marie's Catholic church parking lot and walking down the hill to the intersection with Clarendon. From there, the parade continued to the Onslow Elementary School gym where hot food and drinks were served as kids lined up to speak to Santa about a few important matters.

Slippery sh*t: unidentified effluent causes accident

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Kate Aley

A serious single-vehicle roll-over was caused early morning on December 4 by a deep slick of some kind of waste matter spilled on Highway 148 near Parker Road in Luskville. Pools of what appeared to be septic waste or liquid animal manure were at least two or three meters in length and possibly 4 cm in depth, according to witnesses.

Christmas House Tour lights up the night

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Kate Aley

The houses on the Quyon Pastoral Charge Christmas House Tour warmly received 150 visitors this year. Five family homes in Quyon and Luskville were decorated to perfection to the appreciation of all. Above, the Draper homestead in Luskville.

Scheer in Pontiac: We shouldn’t let the politics of envy divide one group of Canadians against another

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Thomas Soulière

SHAWVILLE — The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada spent the first day of December visiting the federal riding of Pontiac with stops in Campbell’s Bay, Fort Coulonge and Shawville to speak to farmers, small business owners and voters about the CPC’s position on the Liberal government’s tax policy and to show the Conservative’s strong support of supply management.

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