Hopefully you’ve already heard that the new food waste collection will be starting in the Loyola district this October. It is still to be confirmed, but the new collection will probably replace the home garbage collection on Thursdays (collection may continue for businesses and large apartment buildings not invited to participate in the new food waste collection).

This summer the Eco-quartier NDG staff and volunteers have been very busy, knocking on doors and informing residents about the new collection. Many of the people that we’ve met have told us that they are excited for the program to begin. Those who compost at home already know just how much of our waste is comprised of food. We encourage those who are already composting fruits and vegetables at home to continue, but they can still participate in the new city program by putting leftover meat, dairy or items with fats or spices in the new bin. Those who are unfamiliar with composting are less sure about the new program, and so they are waiting to see how much work the new system will require of them.

The truth is, it is not much different to collect food waste for garbage or for composting. One of the main differences is the container. We’re reminding residents that it is important to use either compostable bags, or folded newspaper to collect the food waste. Regular plastic bags will not be accepted, as the plastic will not break down in this process (it is considered a contaminant). From my own experience at home, I’ve found that putting my food waste in the freezer until the collection date greatly reduces any odour or insect problems. Many residents have told me that they are already used to freezing their garbage (especially food waste from meat or poultry), but of course other residents are worried that they just don’t have the space in the freezer. Lining the bin with baking soda is another way to reduce the potential odours.

Between recycling and food waste collection, there is very little else that will still go in the garbage. The only garbage I have left is kitty litter, plastic #6 (not recycled in Montreal), plastic wrap like Saran-wrap and metallic wrappers (from granola bars, candy, etc). Diapers, cigarette butts, old candles and broken toys are some of the other items that one might still need to dispose of in the trash.

One of the goals of the new food waste collection is to reduce greenhouse gases emitted. Methane gas (CH4) is one of the worst greenhouses gases (estimated rank it as 16-20 times worse than carbon dioxide CO2,) and it is generated in landfill because of the anaerobic (without oxygen) conditions. Those who manage landfill sites try to capture as much of the methane as possible, but some of it escapes into the atmosphere, where it increases greenhouse gases, leading to global warming. That’s bad! The goal of the new food waste collection program is to reduce the amount of food sent to landfill, which will to reduce the methane gas produced there. Meanwhile, the food collected in the new program will be transformed on the island of Montreal in sealed factories to create methane gas. 100% of the gas produced in the factories will be captured and transformed into natural gas, to be used for a variety of purposes. That’s good!

If the Eco-quartier NDG team has been to your house but you weren’t home, we left some information about the upcoming collection. Please call us to let us know that you’ve received the information, so that we can answer any questions that you might have and cross you off of our follow-up list.

During the last week of September, the Eco-quartier NDG staff and volunteers will be delivering the new food waste collection bins to all of the houses, duplexes and triplexes in the neighborhood. Delivering the 8000 bins will require a lot of man-power. If you would you like to help us or if your child has community service hours to do for school, please contact our volunteer coordinator Nazmus.