At the last mid-month General Committee of Council, Council approved the expansion of the City’s composting program to multi-residential buildings of nine units or more. This represents an almost doubling of service coverage on the territory of Westmount, without additional collection costs and more compost to nourish Westmount’s beautiful gardens and parks.
The expanded programme will target some 3594 households*, which represents roughly 40% of Westmount’s total private dwellings. Residents introduced to the programme will see one of their twice-weekly garbage collections replaced to accommodate the change. Given organic waste accounts for about a 47% share of total residual materials produced by households in Quebec (according to Recyc-Québec data), the transition should be seamless to residents. The impact, on the other hand, will be tremendously positive for our environment.
Until now, the City of Westmount has been offering the service for single family homes and apartment building of 8 units or less. Its circular strategy for organics maximizes the value of organic waste by converting it into compost. This is the most natural method for a municipality to draw value from its waste.
Now in its 10th year, the City of Westmount’s Green Bin food composting programme is not only due for this expansion, but also for a major revitalization. The current participation rate of those living in single homes and buildings of 8 units or less is 60%, which translates to a composting rate of 45% of total organics produced in Westmount, including food and garden waste. This is well below provincial and regional targets of 60% produced by a municipality.
For those of you who compost already, you likely find this participation rate very low given how simple it is to participate and how detrimental the consequences when organic waste ends up in our landfills: Firstly, organic waste contributes to limiting landfill capacity. Secondly, because of a lack of oxygen when compressed with other garbage, it does not reduce as much in volume and its anaerobic decomposition generates methane – a greenhouse gas that is approximately 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. (Source: Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal report)
Ten years ago, the City of Westmount was one of the first cities in the agglomeration of Montreal to introduce a composting programme to its residents. Its leadership was thanks to an excellent suggestion by resident-members of the Healthy City Project committee at the time. It would be great to see that leadership shine again with a full participation rate to its Green Bin food composting programme.
So whether you are a new participant or a late bloomer in the composting area, I invite you to take advantage of our current investment in bins and communications materials and get with the programme. It is the perfect culmination of the food experience, from harvesting and/or selecting to returning to the soil… or full circle from “cradle to cradle,” as the industry calls it.
I wish all newcomers to composting a great introduction to this programme!
For more information on the City of Westmount’s Green Bin food composting programme, contact 514-989-5390 or visit westmount.org/greenbin.
*Note that the programme will be carried out over three phases. A first phase starts July 2018, covering buildings located south of De Maisonneuve between Lansdowne and Clarke. Two other phases are planned in 2019. By 2020, all residential properties in Westmount will be served by a food composting programme.
Marina Brzeski, Commissioner of Sustainability & Accessibility