Composting

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.

The programme consists of two (2) components:

  • A weekly curbside collection of compostable kitchen waste for single-family homes and small apartment buildings.
  • Apartment Composting – for multi residential buildings of 9 units and more.

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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. To obtain a new bin, or replace a broken or damaged bin: as of March 18, 2019, due to the closure of the municipal yards as a result of the work being done by the MTQ on the Turcot Interchange, please go to the Westmount Recreation Centre Building at 4675 St. Catherine Street West, during regular 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.

ACCEPTED MATERIALS

  • 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

MATERIALS NOT ACCEPTED

  • 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.

IT’S EASIER THAN YOU THINK

Start by locating your green bin – indoors or out, in a place that’s convenient for you.

STEP 1

Keep the container clean and dry by placing a few sheets of newspaper or paper towels in the bottom of the green bin.

STEP 2

If you use a kitchen compost bin, line the bin with a compostable bag or newspaper and collect your food waste.

STEP 3

Knot the bag or fold over the newspaper and transfer the contents to the green bin.

OR

STEP 1

Keep the container clean and dry by placing a few sheets of newspaper or paper towels in the bottom of the green bin.

STEP 2

Line your green bin with a paper or compostable bag.

STEP 3

Deposit your food waste directly into the green bin.

To prevent odours:

  • Line your smaller kitchen compost bin with newspaper or paper bags to reduce humidity and transfer the filled paper to the compostable bag and bin when necessary.
  • Put meat, fish, bones or greasy leftovers in the freezer until collection day; it’s ok to wrap them in newspaper and put the whole thing into the compostable bag inside the green bin.
  • Rinse the green bin periodically with a vinegar/water solution and let it dry completely. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda in the bottom.
  • Leave the lid open after the collection to dry completely.
  • Set your green bin out for collection every week, even if it’s not full.
  • Transfer the stronger-smelling organic material to the green bin as close to collection day as possible.
  • Cover your kitchen waste with a layer of dried leaves or grass.

To reduce the chance of attracting rodents:

Where possible:

  • place the green bin inside a garbage shelter or garage where it is inaccessible to animals
  • hang the green bin on a hook with the bottom about 18 inches off the ground
  • use paper to reduce humidity and odours in the bin

Use certified compostable bags. Look for this special logo when purchasing bags.

Starting July 2018, the Green Bin program will be expanding to apartment buildings of 9 units or more. Phase 1 of the expansion program targets buildings with a maximum of 70 units located in the area south of De Maisonneuve between Clarke Ave and Lansdowne Ave. Residents in the 27 apartment buildings in this sector will receive a kitchen container, an introductory supply of compostable bags and an information sheet on how to participate in the program. Each apartment building will receive 240 litre green bins for residents to empty their kitchen containers. Pickup of green bins in this sector is once a week on Tuesdays.

During Phase 1, Public Works representatives will be visiting each apartment building in the targeted sector to deliver participation kits to residents. The representatives will explain how to participate in the program and answer your questions. If you miss the initial distribution you can pick up a kitchen compost container at the Public Works Department, 1 Bethune during regular business hours. A proof of residence will be required. Containers will only be available to residents in the sector identified in Phase 1. Limit of one container per unit.

Since 2008 residents in single family homes and apartment buildings of 8 units or less have been composting their food waste. The Green Bin program is now being expanded to include multi residential buildings of 9 units and more.

The Green Bin program requires everyone to separate food waste and food soiled paper from their regular garbage, just as they separate their other recyclables from their garbage. The goal of Westmount’s Green Bin program is to divert 60% of organic waste from landfill.

The kitchen compost containers are the property of the City of Westmount and should be left at the home when you leave. To obtain a new bin, or replace a broken or damaged bin: as of March 18, 2019, due to the closure of the municipal yards as a result of the work being done by the MTQ on the Turcot Interchange, please go to the Westmount Recreation Centre Building at 4675 St. Catherine Street West, during regular business hours (please bring a proof of residence).

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Nearly half of all domestic “waste” is compostable
  • Organic materials do not compost in landfill sites because of the lack of air, and end up producing methane – a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2
  • Landfilling is polluting and expensive for cities and taxpayers
  • Quebec’s Residual Materials Policy will ban organic materials from landfills.

The City’s Public works department and your building management have worked together to tailor the Green Bin program for your building. This guide offers tips that will make diverting food waste convenient and easy for you.

ACCEPTED MATERIALS

  • 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

MATERIALS NOT ACCEPTED

  • 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.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

  • Line your kitchen container with a compostable bag, a few sheets of newspaper or soiled paper towels and store in a convenient location in your kitchen.
  • Collect food scraps in your container.
  • Knot the bag or fold over the newspaper and empty your kitchen container frequently into the building’s Green Bin.

KITCHEN CONTAINER LINERS
Always line your kitchen container before use, food waste cannot be added loose to the Green bin.

You can use any of the following to line your kitchen container:

  • paper towel
  • paper bags
  • newspaper / flyer
  • paper food waste bags
  • cardboard
  • certified compostable bags with the BPI logo

If you are purchasing compostable bags, ensure you only select paper or certified compostable liners with the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) logo on the box:

MAINTENANCE
Wash your kitchen container with a mild detergent as required.
The kitchen container is dishwasher safe.

USEFUL TIPS

  • Use a cardboard box like a cracker or cereal box instead of your kitchen container to collect food waste. Drop the whole box into the Green bin.
  • Store meat, poultry, fish and bones in the freezer until you dispose of them in the Green Bin
  • Wrap food waste in newspaper to absorb moisture and reduce odours.
  • Prevent insects and other pests by sprinkling baking soda or salt on the food waste in your container.

REDUCE CONTAMINATION
To guarantee a high quality finished compost, reduce contamination by:

  • NO PLASTIC
    Always remove food from plastic bags, plastic wrap and Styrofoam or their containers. Only the food goes in the Green Bin, food soiled plastic packaging goes in the garbage. Rinse plastic containers to remove food residue before recycling them in the Blue bin.
  • NO ELASTICS
    Remove elastic bands from vegetables including broccoli, green onions, leeks, asparagus and celery. The elastic bands can be saved for another use. The food waste goes in the Green Bin
  • NO STICKERS
    Remove stickers from fruit. The stickers go in the garbage and food waste in the Green Bin
  • NO DIAPERS OR SANITARY PRODUCTS
    Diapers, incontinence pads and other sanitary products are not accepted in the Green Bin program and should be put in the garbage
  • NO PET WASTE
    Dog waste and cat litter are not accepted in the Green Bin Program and should be put in the garbage

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.

compost_logos

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