My Green City Life

Local news: Curbside composting
October 30, 2007, 1:32 pm
Filed under: on the town, your outdoor space

Recycling has been in the news around here a lot lately as Montréal is planning to double its ability to process recycled materials. More interesting to me, however, is the news that by 2012 Montréal and the surrounding neighborhoods are expected to be composting 60% of its organic waste — more than five times the amount that is composted now. There is currently a small trial program for curbside compostables pick-up in the municipality of Côte St. Luc. There are also some old compost drop-off boxes around town, but most of them have been closed and/or abandoned because of lack of upkeep.

Composting is so simple that it is almost criminal that so much compostable organic waste ends up in the landfill at all. For us apartment dwellers without access to a compost pile, we have the option of vermicomposting — that is, feeding our food scraps to worms in a plastic bin. (Unfortunately, I usually end up with more organic waste than my worms can handle, so some of it still ends up in the trash.) Folks with access to a yard can make individual or community compost piles. A friend of mine with a backyard has a black plastic composter. She throws food scraps in the top and occasionally digs fresh compost out from the bottom. It really is that simple.

Does something as dead easy as composting — something you can literally do in your own backyard — need a municipal collection service? Whose responsibility is it: the individuals or the city government? As a city dweller without a backyard, I think it’s great. It would also encourage people who don’t want to bother with a compost pile or who don’t think they create enough waste to justify the purchase of a composter. But at the same time, a well maintained composter on every block would probably work just as well.

Read a local co-op’s take on the situation here.


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