Montreal looks to boost lagging participation in food waste collection

Published: 27 July 2023

All residential buildings in Montreal with under nine units now have brown bins—but only 63 per cent actually sort out their food waste, according to a 2021 survey conducted by the city. Meanwhile, the Lachenaie landfill in Terrebonne—the only landfill in the Montreal area—is set to reach its capacity in 2029.

The city says a large-scale food waste awareness campaign will launch later this year to try to boost citizens' participation in separating out organics. 

Diverting waste from landfills is key for fighting climate change, says Grant Clark, an associate professor in McGill University's department of bioresource engineering.

In the composting process, food waste breaks down into material used to grow more food, fibre for textiles and potentially biofuels.

"We can regenerate those resources indefinitely. And that's the key to a sustainable society," Clark says.

When that waste is buried in landfills, it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas about 25 to 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

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