Management of Solid Wastes
According to Statistics Canada, between 2004 and 2006, the total amount of garbage disposed of has increased in most provinces. In Quebec, this increase was 5.5 %.
The good news is that the amount of garbage from the residential sector has declined in recent years. In 2000, each resident of Austin sent 546.6 kg of garbage to landfill while in 2009, this quantity was 407.7 kg. The bad news is that Austin sends more than the Quebec average, which averaged 272 kg per person from 2006 to 2009.
The costs related to landfill are continually increasing. Under the by-law dealing with the charges for the disposal of residual materials adopted in 2006, each municipality must pay a “user fee” per metric tonne for residual materials destined for landfill or incineration.
This charge, which was $10 per tonne in 2006, has been indexed every year to the cost of living index. In July 2010, Quebec announced that an additional fee of $9.50 per metric tonne would be charged from October 1 to September 30, 2015. The cost to the municipality will therefore double this year.
Residents of Austin dispose of 580 tonnes of garbage every year. And it is expensive! It costs more than $260,000 to pickup, transport to landfill and recycle our garbage in 2009, even though we pay substantially less in tipping fees than many other municipalities. According to an analysis of our garbage carried out at the landfill site, 82 % of the volume of waste materials in our garbage pails and wastebaskets does not even have to go to landfill.
To discourage citizens from sending so much to the garbage dump, many cities impose limits: one green bin every two weeks. This is an incentive to encourage people to recycle, if not to reduce their consumption and over-packaging.
From 2013, it will no longer be possible to send paper and cardboard to landfill, and by 2020, the government plans to gradually ban the disposal at landfill sites of all organic, putrescible materials (that rot). These will have to be composted in one way or another. In addition to the blue bin recycling program for materials that can be recovered, residents will be expected to buy a green bin for garbage to be sent to landfill and a bin for compostable materials that will be sent to a composting facility.
In this regard, Austin residents, since they live in the country, are at an advantage compared to their city cousins. This advantage is space.
So we need to ask ourselves this question: In terms of cost and environmental health, is it logical and desirable to send our garbage elsewhere to be treated or composted, when we have the space to do it ourselves? It is time to act now! We all know how to compost organic materials and it is time to do it! Looking after our own wastes makes sense – it’s up to each one of us.
For more information about the Quebec policy on waste materials management, visit the following sites: