Montreal: the model city for compost?

We’re all aware of the importance of recycling, yet it seems that some cities are more forward-thinking in their approach to going green than others. Take Montreal, for example — their attitudes to composting are world-leading.

Here, compost specialist Compost Direct discusses the policies in place and how Britain could follow suit:


Attitudes to composting in Montreal

In 2015, Montreal mayor, Denis Coderre announced that the city will distribute a total of 435,000 brown bins across the city to help locals separate their food waste from their general waste. Rolling out this year, the waste collected in these bins will then be transported to four newly constructed composting facilities.

The changes are being implemented with the aim of recovering 80% of organic waste by 2019. However, even without the rollout of the bins, 20 to 40 per cent of residents are already composting their waste — clearly, attitudes to going green are widespread in the city.

In addition to the bins, the city recently introduced a new bylaw that could see those who fail to separate their compostable waste fined anywhere from $300 to $1,000. The fines don’t apply to households that don’t have access to curb-side compost collection, like multi-storey apartments, for example.

However, many have raised issues about how it will be policed — will someone check the general waste to make sure there is no food waste inside? Rather, officials are reassuring residents that the new bylaw is to act as a reminder to be environmentally conscious and work towards the common environmental aim.


Could Britain follow suit?

There is no denying that food waste is a problem in the UK. 7.0 Mt of food waste is created by households each year, with 4.7Mt disposed through landfills or sewers. Shockingly, between 4.2 and 5.4Mt of this total waste is preventable. Currently, just 1.0Mt⁶ of this waste is composted or recycled.

Clearly, implementing a similar solution to Montreal would help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and increase composting rates.

The UK also has an EU target to recycle at least 50 per cent of household waste by 2020. With 2015’s figure standing at 44.3 per cent, a 0.7 per cent drop on 2014’s figures, we may see a similar strategy implemented on our own soil. Only time will tell.

27th September 2016

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