A snapshot of rural composting in the Outaouais
As rural municipalities in the Outaouais grapple with the challenge of setting up composting programs that suit their local reality, the we reached out to MRC Pontiac, MRC des Collines and several municipalities for an up-to-date picture of compositing in the region.
While there is currently no compost program in the MRC Pontiac, an MRC commissioned study in 2022 recommended brown-bin pickup as the most effective way to promote compositing among residents.
However, Director of Land Use Planning Jason Durand said it’s been difficult to agree on whether the program will be managed by the MRC or by municipalities. Durand said the MRC recently commissioned a second study by Solinov to develop a costs-calculator for compost management scenarios, “We’re looking at all the cards on the table at the moment, and once we have an estimate of the costs it will be much easier decide,” said Durand. The study is set to finish this fall.
In the meantime, Durand said that residents can consider purchasing domestic composting bins and can also bring compost to the Litchfield and Sheenboro transfer stations.
Richard Armitage, chair of Shawville’s Environment and Waste Management committee said that he is eagerly waiting for a decision on the matter, “I would love to see this going forward more quickly. I’m patiently waiting on the MRC to decide … I think we’ll see more municipalities get on board from the beginning if the MRC decides on a county-wide program.”
MRC des Collines
The municipalities of Chelsea and Cantley have had successful brown-bin programs for several years and the municipality of La Pêche recently started a composting pickup program in May 2022. La Pêche Mayor Guillaume Lamoureux said that reducing waste collection to once every two weeks and using trucks with two compartments has helped to reduce costs and increase efficiency. He said that it was challenging at first to set up a brown-bin program in a rural community, but residents have become more accustomed to composting over the past year.
MRC des Collines Warden Marc Carrière said that while compost pickup is managed by municipalities, the MRC transports compost from the central transport centre to the composting facility in Kazabazua. He said that composting has resulted in significant savings, “If we send garbage to Lachute, it costs $160 per tonne, but when we send composting to Kazabazua, its $98 per tonne. Every time we compost it saves money for residents and the municipality,” said Carrière. He noted that Chelsea has reduced its landfill waste by 27% through its program and La Pêche has already reduced its waste by 14% since it started its program last year.
While the municipality of Pontiac decided a brown-bin program would not be feasible at present, Pontiac Director General Mario Allen said domestic composting bins will be available for purchase at the town hall. He said the bins will cost approximately $120. He added that residents will also be able to bring compost to the Quyon Ecocentre once it reopens early next year.