The government Legault wants to generalize the composting

Le gouvernement Legault veut généraliser le compostage

Photo: Hubert Hayaud The Duty
The bulk of the funding provided by the government will be used to assist municipalities to develop a system of collection of organic material.

The government Legault intends to invest more than a billion dollars over the next decade in order to generalize the access to the collection of organic materials in the province. Quebec is hoping to make up in part for the significant delays over the years for the recycling of materials that would normally end up in the ” brown bin “.

Quebecers continue to send it to the junkyard, the vast majority of their kitchen waste, to their table scraps and their expired food, while these organic materials should be in a ” brown bin “. The objectives set in 2011 provided yet to recycle 100% of these materials as soon as 2020. However, barely half of the municipalities are now able to offer the collection service. The participation also remains very poor, since less than one-third of the materials that say “biodegradable” are recycled, according to the most recent balance sheet of Recyc-Québec.

The government Legault wants to improve this rate at this rate by recycling or promoting “70 % of the organic matter referred to” by 2030, according to the “Strategy of valorization of the organic matter” that was unveiled Friday morning by the minister of the Environment Benoit Charette. The announcement of the plan of Quebec took place in the company of the president of the Union of municipalities of Quebec, Suzanne Roy, and the president of the quebec Federation of municipalities, Jacques Demers.

Quebec intends to invest $ 1.2 billion over the next few years, 450 million as early as 2020-2021. The bulk of the funding provided by the government will be used to assist municipalities to develop a system of collection of these organic materials biodegradable. The goal is that each municipality can have such a system in operation by 2025, in order to serve all of Quebec. Only 57 % of the quebec population is currently served by a collection of food residues.

The government will help the municipalities ” to better manage food waste and green on the whole of their territories and to expand the network of ecocentres for the wood residues from the citizens “, argued the minister Charette. At the same time, ” the province of Quebec will encourage, then require, the collection of food waste and green and paper and cardboard in the industries, businesses and institutions, and in some households not served currently for these materials.”

“The Strategy will speed up the implementation of collection services and treatment facilities of organic matter, suited to all regional contexts. In addition, it will promote the quality of the organic material treated and the development of the local market for composts, digestate and other fertilizing residual materials from this collection. It is also based on a sharing of responsibilities between the actors of the value chain, including municipalities, ” noted the ministry of the Environment of Québec, by way of a press release.

“In order to achieve this, the government will increase 23,51 to $ 30 per ton the charges for the landfill of residual waste. It is a clear signal that the Québec intends to discourage the disposal of residual materials for the benefit of their valuation “, argued the minister, Benoit Charette.

Materials to the dump

Several years after the widespread policy of recycling paper, cardboard, glass and plastic, only 52 % of these materials “generated” in Quebec were “sent for recycling” by 2018, indicates the most recent balance sheet of Recyc-Québec.

But the situation is worse when we look at the balance of “organic materials biodegradable” from the residential sector, but also restaurants, grocery stores and the institutional sector (health and education), health-care institutions. In 2018, the “recycling rate” was only 27 %, a very slight increase compared to 2015 (25 %) and 2012 (22 %).

In concrete terms, of the 3.9 million tons of organic materials included in the balance sheet 2018 Recyc-Québec, 2.9 million tonnes have been buried or cremated, while 1.1 million tonnes were recycled by composting, land application or anaerobic digestion.

The recycling rate for the single-sector “municipal” has increased to 35% in 2018. On the 1.9 million tonnes of organic waste generated, about 1.2 million were ” disposed of “, the vast majority ends up in a junkyard.

These recycling rates can be explained in particular by the fact that” a little less than half “of the municipalities and regions of Québec, is 512 as of the date of January 2020 (45 %),” serve now to part or all of their citizens for the recovery of green waste and food “, through the collection of the so-called ” brown bin “. What’s more, the buildings multilogements “are not always served,” said Recyc-Québec.

Objective ban

The “Plan of action 2011-2015 of the québec Policy on residual materials management” had set the bar much higher. We wanted to “recycle” 60 % of the organic materials to biodegradable as soon as 2015. The” objective ” confessed the government — which was registered in the balance sheet 2015 program of Recyc-Quebec city, but which has disappeared from the balance sheet 2018 — was to ban, by 2020, the landfilling of putrescible organic waste.

Such a ban would have helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Québec, since the organic materials decomposing in landfills produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. According to the most recent balance sheet to québec’s greenhouse gas emissions, the sector “waste” generated 5.8% of all emissions in the province in 2017, representing 4.6 million tons, of which four-million tons to the landfill. The strategy announced Friday, is expected to reduce from 270 000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The banning of the landfill would also have increased the lifespan of the landfill sites in Quebec, in addition to allowing the production of compost that may subsequently be used. However, less than one-third of the goal of the action Plan 2011-2015 has now been reached.

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