FOOD IS NOT GARBAGE!
Westmount’s green bin programme is an essential part of reducing the amount of garbage sent to landfill and preventing the loss of valuable resources.
In May 2009, Westmount finished implementing a weekly curbside collection of compostable kitchen waste for single-family homes and small apartment buildings.
Materials accepted in the green bin include raw and cooked food scraps, food-soiled paper or cardboard, houseplants, tea leaves and coffee grounds. Once collected, materials are transported to a specialized composting facility, processed and used as a soil amendment and fertilizer.
The green bins are the property of the City of Westmount and should be left at the home when you leave. New residents may obtain a bin by contacting the Public Works Department at 514 989-5390, and broken or damaged bins can be replaced at the Public Works office at 1 Bethune Street during business hours (please bring a proof of residence).
COMPOSTING IS IMPORTANT
Compostable materials, which can represent as much as 40% of residential ‘waste,’ are best kept out of landfills, where they become mixed with other materials and compressed. Without air, the decomposition produces methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. Methane gas is known to contribute to climate change. The provincial government has announced a ban on organic materials in landfills by 2020 to reduce pollution and costs associated with burying them.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN THE GREEN BIN?
Nearly all food waste – cooked, raw, or even spoiled – is accepted, including bones, egg shells, grains and baked goods – consult the table below for more details. A small amount of cooking oil or grease is fine, but avoid large quantities of liquid and use newspaper to wrap food scraps to keep them dry and odour-free. Leaves and yard waste, while compostable, are collected separately by the City and should be left out of the green bin.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Pasta, bread and cereal
- Pizza/donut boxes, microwave popcorn bags, flour/sugar bags
- Coffee grounds, filters, tea bags
- Soiled paper towels, tissues, paper tablecloths and napkins
- Egg shells
- Meat, fish, seafood, chicken, bones, skin
- Dairy products
- Cakes, cookies and candy
- Small house plants and clippings
- All recyclable material including clean paper & cardboard, glass, metal and plastic
- Dryer sheets (Bounce®), disposable cleaning pads (Swiffer®)
- Paints, motor oil and any household hazardous materials
- Corks, leather, textiles, clothing
- Diapers and sanitary products, Q-tips®, makeup removal pads
- Hair, feathers and animal fur, dead animals (hamsters, birds, squirrels), cat litter, faeces
- Vacuum bags and their contents
- Wood, cigarette ashes and butts, fireplace and barbecue ashes
- Plastic wrap, sandwich bags, Styrofoam trays, tray liners to absorb meat juices, juice boxes, milk containers, plastic milk bags, waxed paper, ice cream cartons, frozen food boxes, aluminum foil, wax and chewing gum.
ABSOLUTELY NO PLASTIC!
- Any material containing plastic – no matter how small – is NOT compostable and should NEVER be put in the green bin.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Organic material is the product of living things. It could be fruits, vegetables, meat, leaves, plants or twigs. All organic material will break down (biodegrade) into compost under the right conditions. Compost is rich in minerals and nutrients, and is used as a fertilizer or soil amendment to improve the physical properties of the soil.
At this moment, participation is strongly recommended, but not mandatory. Programmes such as the kitchen waste and recycling collection help divert material from landfill and show the commitment residents have towards improving the health of their cities.
In addition, the Quebec government has announced that organic materials will be banned from landfills within the next few years, and reducing the amount of garbage in landfills is everyone’s responsibility.
The organic material will be taken to a compost facility where wood chips are added and the waste is then shaped into large windrows. Since the waste is not sorted, it is important to put only organic material in the green bin. While composting, the temperature inside the windrow can reach 70oC. The high heat in the windrows is sufficient to eliminate pathogens. The composting process takes approximately 6 months. The finished product will then have a second life as fertilizer or soil amendment.
Organic material has a high percentage of water. Wrapping it in newspaper before putting it in your green bin is key to helping control odours and excess moisture. Too much liquid will result in anaerobic decomposition of the materials, the cause of odours. You can also bundle food scraps in newspaper and store then in the freezer, particularly during periods of hot weather, then add them to the green bin on collection day.
Due to health and safety concerns for the employees emptying the green bin all material placed in the bin must be securely contained in newspaper, paper bags or compostable bags that are closed or tied – do NOT use twist ties. Do not put kitchen waste loose in your green bin.
If you choose to use liner bags, only paper bags or certified compostable bags are accepted in municipal compost facilities. Look for the logo when shopping for compostable bags.
If you compost at home using a backyard composter, there is no need to stop. We encourage you to use your green bin for items that you cannot put into your backyard composter, such as meat, fish or dairy products. The City continues to offer backyard composters for sale through the Public Works office.
Garden waste such as plants, grass clipping, trimmings, small branches and leaves are collected separately on Wednesdays during the growing seasons. All garden waste material must be placed in paper yard waste bags. Garden waste can also be placed loose in rigid, open-topped plastic or metal containers, such as a standard garbage can. Containers must not exceed 20 kg in weight.
Kitchen waste and garden waste are transported to two separate composting sites, and materials should not be combined during the collection.
Extra green bins, counter containers, compostable bags and paper yard waste bags are available for sale at hardware stores in Westmount, including :
- Canadian Tire, Alexis-Nihon Plaza, 1500 Atwater Avenue
- Hogg Hardware, 4833 Sherbrooke Street W.
- Home Depot, 4625 St-Antoine Street W.
- Pharmaprix, 5038 Sherbrooke Street W.
- Pharmaprix, Alexis-Nihon Plaza, 1500 Atwater Avenue
- RONA Le Quincaillier, 2371 Notre-Dame Street W.
- Walmart, 6797 Newman Boulevard