Residual waste management in the MRC Pontiac
The Nomads of a few centuries ago didn’t have to worry about waste management because all their waste was biodegradable and their roving lifestyle precluded its accumulation.
The wide array of synthetic products common today, such as plastics, metals, glass etc., make it such that we can no longer rely on Mother Nature to manage our current lifestyle’s residues. For one, our population is too large, and secondly, our synthetic products take too long to decompose. We must therefore collect our waste and dispose of it in specific locations commonly called “dumps”. A dump is by no means an ideal solution for disposing of waste, but it is favourable to having it spread all over the countryside.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the majority of North American cities established (with varying degrees of success), recycling and composting systems as a means to reduce the amount of garbage in dumps. These systems have become very important to cities and municipalities as a means to reduce the quantity of garbage they produce.
According to Recyc-Québec, a provincial organisation mandated to manage recycling at the provincial level, every person in Québec produces on average, 810 kg of waste per year (2008). The composition of this garbage is organic matter (44%), paper/cardboard (19%), plastic (7%), glass (6%), metal (3%) and other materials (21%). Of these 880 kg, 64% end up in dumps while 36% are recuperated one way or another. The Québec government’s objective is to increase the recuperation rate to at least 60%!
The 18 municipalities of the Pontiac MRC manage their residential and commercial waste by means of in-trench landfills. This practice was to end on January 19, 2009. On January 22nd, the ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP) extended the deadline to October 2009. The in-trench landfills will be closed on April 1st, 2010 and municipal waste will be transported to the technical landfill in Lachute, QC for the next 5 years.
Given the low density of our population, the residual waste management plan (PGMR) of the MRC Pontiac promotes local initiatives and small scale solutions to waste management.
For a complete version of the PGMR:
All municipalities in the Pontiac MRC have recycling programs. Some have door to door collection while others have bins at central locations. Regardless of the system in place in your municipality, it is strongly encouraged that you recycle.
Household composting is strongly encouraged in all municipalities of the MRC Pontiac. Not only does it reduce household waste, but it also produces a fertile compost perfect for our gardens and lawns.
For more information on composting and how to start your own compost heap: