Montreal’s southern borough of Verdun has become the first municipality in Quebec to implement a public composting program. At a press conference last Monday, Verdun Mayor Claude Trudel announced that the borough’s new industrial composter will process organic waste from municipal buildings, two local businesses, and a food bank.
The municipality also announced last summer that curbside collections of garbage and recycling will drop to once per week on October 20.
Verdun municipal spokesperson Francine Morin said that the program offers an environmentally friendly alternative to the garbage collection system employed by the rest of the city.
“We’re reducing greenhouse gases, because [this way] we won’t have to transport garbage from Point A in Verdun to Point B.”
Morin added that the compost produced will be used in public parks and community gardens as fertilizer.
Steve McLeod, founder of the independent Compost Montreal, which operates an organic waste pickup program in conjunction with the Department of Parks and Horticulture, said that a large-scale composting program should be made accessible to Montrealers.
“A city program is necessary to remove waste from those who live on the third floor [of an apartment building] in the Plateau,” he said.
Morin said that the pilot project will last a year, after which it may be extended to households.
Toronto’s Green Bin system diverts an estimated 400,000 tonnes of residential waste from landfills per year. However, in Toronto compost is collected in plastic bags, which some argue compromises the quality of the organic waste.
“There is pressure on the City of Montreal, because it is so far behind other cities such as Toronto, but it’s also an opportunity to learn from their mistakes,” Morin said.
“If what comes out of it is good quality compost, then the program will be [expanded to residences],” said Morin.
It remains unclear as to whether such a system would involve curbside pickups or citizens dropping off their own waste.