• James Armstrong

Brown bin waste collection coming to Saint-Lazare in March


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Brown bins and redirecting food waste from landfill sites to composting centres is the new reality for many regions of Quebec including Saint-Lazare in the MRC Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Town joins successful Vaudreuil-Soulanges MRC project

Saint-Lazare residents are scheduled to receive the organic waste brown bins starting Monday, March 11 all the way through to Tuesday, April 30 and will be delivered to all properties including business and large and small institutions.

Photo contest

In an effort to introduce the new waste collection system, the town is inviting residents to participate in a photo contest with the theme, “The brown bin: Let’s adopt it.” Photo contest entries must include the participant taking part in an upcoming town activity featuring one of the brown bins. There’s a maximum of five photos permitted per participating address. Participants could win the first place prize of the opportunity to be ambassadors for the Saint-Lazare brown bin program and a gift bag filled with eco-friendly products valued over $50.

Four other participation prizes will be awarded that will include a gift bag with $20 worth of promotional items that will help reduce waste. A list of activities that will include the brown bin is available on the town website.

Collection program objectives

The brown bin program is aimed at reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfill sites. Instead, household organic materials such as fruit, vegetables, dairy products, grains, cereals, meat, fish, eggshells, bones, and nut shells are processed into compost. Residents will receive complete information on what is permitted in the brown bin and what is not during the introductory phase of the program. For example, animal excrement, dead animals, mollusk shells, plastic bags, and cigarette butts are on the list of forbidden materials. Regarding plastic bags, whether they are biodegradable, compostable, Oxo-degradable or vegetable plastic, they are not permitted in the brown bin.

Lining the bin

Using bags as containers for refuse in the brown bins has been a discussion topic on social media. Residents are encouraged to use compostable paper bags only as bin liners. Anything in plastic will be discarded. Compostable lined paper bags of various sizes are available in retail outlets throughout the region. And if the cost is prohibitive, there are less expensive alternatives. A video, posted by the City of Vaudreuil-Dorion demonstrates a simple origami technique for folding a weekly advertising flyer or newspaper into a compostable bin liner. (See tinyurl.com/y6g5bwvs.) Also, when warmer temperatures prevail, kitchen scraps can go directly into the bin without a liner as the bins are washable.

Part of wider plan

The Saint-Lazare household waste collection program is part of a province wide effort to reduce the amount of garbage going into landfill sites. The objective, according to Municipalité régionale de comté Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS) Communications Director Simon Richard, is to reduce that amount by 60 per cent by 2020. Figures released on Thursday, February 7 by MRC-VS indicate that food waste collection has diverted 834 tons of waste from landfills.

“The balance sheet for the year 2017 is very good. The recovery of food residues is a major change in lifestyle and will take a few years to reach the 60 per cent recovery goal,” said MRC-VS Prefect Patrick Bousez in the press release.

Recent statistics

The period since 2017 has been the rollout phase of the food waste collection program. In many municipalities, the first phase excludes multiple residential units such as apartment buildings, business and institutions.

In Vaudreuil-Dorion, the new collection program went into effect in October, 2018 for single-family homes and buildings with four or fewer units. Figures released by the city indicate that 204.28 metric tons of waste was diverted from landfill sites or an average of 19.45 kg (43.45 lbs.) per door served. In October,2019 Vaudreuil-Dorion will launch the second phase of their program with the collection of food waste from buildings with five or more units. This phase will coincide with the start of bi-weekly garbage collection in black bins for single-family dwellings and buildings with four or fewer units.

Where it goes

According to Richard a company in Lachute, Quebec currently processes all that tonnage into compost.

“It’s up to each municipality as to what happens with the compost,” he said. “Some of them use it for their municipal gardens.”

Originally, the MRC-VS planned to process the waste materials into high quality compost in the region. To that end, equipment was purchased in 2015 at an initial cost of $304,440 by the MRC-VS and set up in Sainte-Justine-de-Newton.

“It has been a long process of setting up and testing the machine,” said Richard. “It was a new technology at the time, it’s a prototype.” He wasn’t able to give a date for when the machine would be up and running.

For Saint-Lazare residents, the collection of food waste begins the first week of May. The exact date of the collection will be confirmed in the calendar delivered with the bin.

The deadline for entering the contest is Sunday, March 10 at midnight and can be done online at ville.saint-lazare.qc.ca/en/onladopte.

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