The City of Westmount, Que., has adopted a new waste management policy, which will see a focus on composting and a reduction in garbage collection frequency.
“I would like to say we are cutting edge and leading the pack on this, but we are not,” said Westmount Mayor Christina Smith.
“There are many other cities who have taken initiatives to reduce what we are sending to landfill.”
Smith said the city’s three-year waste management contract was up for renewal in May next year, so she said while the contract was being renegotiated, the city opted to refresh its policy on waste.
“We are seeing huge increases in the cost of other contracts that are being passed by cities in other parts of Quebec,” she said.
“We want to ensure we are following best practices, and to ensure we are sending less waste to landfills.”
Starting May 1st next year, all apartment buildings with nine units or more will be forced to provide space to tenants for mandatory composting.
Weekly garbage pickup will continue for larger apartments, but for single-family dwellings it will be reduced to two times a month between Oct. 1st and April 30th.
Weekly composting and recycling pickup will continue for the city.
Smith says only about 40 per cent of Westmount residents compost, and she wants that number much higher.
“Once you start composting, you will never stop. Your garbage does not stink. We will provide you with bins,” she said.
“We will have information sessions over the next few months to help residents understand and to really increase the rate of composting in Westmount.”
The city plans an information campaign to raise awareness about composting and the importance of reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfills.
Smith says the decision to reduce weekly garbage collection for homes is not a novel one. She said many boroughs and municipalities in the Montreal area have already adopted such policies, and some go even further, with once-a-month garbage collection.
Pointe Claire adopted a bi-weekly winter garbage collection schedule about five years ago.
Mayor Tim Thomas says residents adapted easily.
“It’s without problems. Most of our citizens are on board. Garbage does not smell much in the winter,” Thomas said.
“It is not a real inconvenience and if you are composting and recycling properly you don’t need to put out much garbage, really.”
He said it’s incumbent on cities to do all they can to help the environment and reduce waste as much as possible.
“I think in the environmental climate we are in, it’s the least we can do. Most citizens accept it every second week in the winter. It was almost seamless. It has not been a problem from what I can tell,” he said.
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