May 17, 2019 6:30 pm

Montreal holds public hearings to discuss reducing waste

WATCH: In Montreal, public hearings are being held on how consumers and industry leaders can reduce their carbon footprint. Global's Tim Sargeant reports.

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The first of four days of public hearings about reducing household waste and improving recycling in Montreal got underway on Friday.

Environmentalists and members of the public have been invited before the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) to express their wishes to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

READ MORE: Is Canada’s recycling industry broken?

Equiterre executive director Colleen Thorpe was one of the first to appear at the hearing.

She told Global News that refunds on bottle and can returns should be extended to include wine and liquor bottles as well as plastic water bottles.

“This return bottle system (should) be augmented,” Thorpe said.

Thorpe says that in the last 10 years, household waste has only dropped by four per cent.

WATCH: Canada’s recycling industry is having its moment of reckoning


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According to numbers provided by the CMM, Montreal households aren’t hitting the target of recycling 70 per cent of waste.

Part of the problem is that China no longer accepts Canada’s recycled products, which has created challenges for the local recycling industry, and local recycling facilities also need to be upgraded.

“We’re going to hear what the public has to say,” Michel Allaire, environmental director of the CMM, told Global News.

READ MORE: ‘Package-free’ — How a Verdun family reduced household waste to the size of a soup can

The owner of Méga Vrac Zero Déchats, a zero-waste bulk food store, has been selling package-free products for two years. Dairy, pasta, jam and other products are sold in bulk, and shoppers are encouraged to bring their own containers.

“They are very happy,” Ahlem Catherine told Global News.

She hopes the concept of her store will grow in popularity and encourage more people to reduce more and waste less.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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