by Rhonda Massad
As Montreal landfills reach capacity and the provincial government applies pressure, municipalities are being forced to address organic matter that will no longer be accepted in landfills. Strategies vary from city to city but all with the common theme of diverting organic materials to composting sites.
Beaconsfield has opened up discussions with residents in three open town hall style meetings this past month to offer suggestions and hear what people had to say.
According to Beaconsfield city councilor Roger Moss, municipalities across Quebec are obliged to present a waste reduction policy to the Provincial government by 2016.
Beaconsfield’s pilot project which will study residents’ waste management habits will cost $228,000, half of which comes from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The goal is to form strategies to reduce the 370 kilograms of waste per person per year compared to Kirkland’s 265 kilos.
“We are in the study stage at this point,“ Moss told The Suburban in an interview, “but by 2016 municipalities are being obliged by the provincial government to have their plans for waste reduction in place.”
“The pressure will be coming down from Quebec to all municipalities to reduce the garbage,” Moss explained, “there will be disincentives from the government as well, to encourage waste reduction.”
Dollard des Ormeaux and Kirkland have instituted a organic waste pick up as part of their efforts to reduce waste through their brown bin collection which takes care of waste that cannot be composted such as cooked table scraps. Pointe Claire instituted a green waste collection which represents a large portion of waste.
According to Beaconsfield’s director of public works Andrew Duffield all comments that have been received in the town hall meetings will be compiled and taken into consideration.
Under the pay as you throw pilot project citizens were encouraged to compost and were given targeted information to support them with their waste management. The information from the pilot project was very encouraging to Duffield as residents managed to put out 33% less garbage based on weight. This means there was less organic waste in the garbage.
As far as Beaconsfield resident Linda Frate is concerned even though people will have good intentions not everyone will compost properly and the city runs the risk of rodent infestation.
“I am concerned as I am already seeing people throwing garbage in parks, this behavior will increase,” Frate worried, “ and even though we will have a separate bin for garbage, recycling and other waste, when i put my dogs poop in the garbage I won’t have a choice to take it out every week because it will smell. So I will pay more because I am a pet owner.”
“What happens to people on limited means who don’t necessarily compost well or a senior who does not want to go outside in January to compost, they will also have to pay more. I feel we are getting asked to do more and pay more. I feel hopeless,” Frate explained.