There are big changes coming to waste management in Quebec, and they will affect us all. The Environment Ministry (MDDEFP) announced a new waste management plan which includes a requirement to recycle 60% of organic material such as kitchen and yard waste by 2015, and a total ban on such items in landfill by 2020.

The City of Beaconsfield is working on waste management options to meet these new requirements. While some municipalities are looking at separate collection of organic material and transport to a central composting facility, it is estimated such a program could add $500,000 per year to our waste management budget. To support its commitments to sustainability and cost control, the City of Beaconsfi eld has received a grant of $113,850 from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to test an alternative approach to management of organic waste that has been successfully implemented in cities across Canada and the U.S.

This environmentally and economically sustainable strategy contains two main components. First, it promotes simple backyard composting of kitchen and yard waste. Second, it includes a review of waste management program funding to see if households which reduce waste can have that reflected in their taxes.

This spring, a 12 month pilot program will be implemented in two Beaconsfield neighbourhoods. Each of the 300 participating households will receive a free backyard composter and kitchen catcher, instructions and support for effective composting. Over the length of the pilot program, we will be working with the participants to determine
best practices and how much landfill waste can be reduced. The City will also increase spring and fall garden waste pickups to further divert from landfill during those high volume periods. During the last six months of the program, participants will receive waste containers in one of three sizes to refl ect their actual needs once they have established composting into their routines.

The pilot program will be monitored to assess its viability and impact on overall waste collection. If our pilot project replicates the successes realized elsewhere with this system, Beaconsfield's waste management practices will be reviewed to determine if the program should be implemented throughout the city and whether a taxation model can be instituted whereby households pay for waste collection based on the amount they set out. The City recently commissioned a survey of residents to assess knowledge and interest in backyard composting. The summary results will be published shortly, but preliminary findings are highly encouraging, showing that:

  • 98% of respondents have back yards;
  • 77% garden at least a little;
  • 86% are aware of composting benefi ts;
  • 37% compost to some extent now;
  • 42% of those who have never composted would consider doing so;
  • 40% are aware of our Master Composter program.

Some respondents expressed concern about composting, such as odours, insects and animals. It must be stressed that with proper use, these problems do not occur. Last year, the City trained 26 residents (Master Composters) to provide composting assistance, and has established a composting 'hotline' for advice on problems.

Do you have questions about composting?

514 428-4500 or compost@beaconsfield.ca