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Quebec government to spend $1.2B to manage organic waste, environment minister says

Quebec government still a long way from achieving composting goals
Quebec government still a long way from achieving composting goals

As more COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted in Quebec, government officials are turning their attention to other issues.

Benoit Charette, the environment minister, is trying to make inroads to improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

His government plans to spend $1.2 billion during the next 10 years to better manage organic waste.

The plan is to offer all Quebecers the chance to compost food and other green waste by 2025.

Read more: City of Montreal expands composting to highrise apartment buildings in select boroughs

Officials also want 70 per cent of all organic waste to be composted by 2030. The most recent figures from 2018 indicate only 31 per cent is composted, according to Charette.

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“We will make all the efforts necessary to achieve these important goals,” Charette said at a Friday morning press conference.

The biggest challenge will be to get workers in the food services industry to increase composting. Currently only 5 per cent of all organic material outside of residential homes is composted or re-used.

“We need to be sure that the cities or the private collectors can accept compostable bags in the brown bin because it will be very difficult if it’s not the case,” Martin Vézina, the president of the Quebec Restaurant Association told Global News in a Skype interview.

Read more: Quebec unveils revamped recycling program that puts greater responsibility on producers

Government officials hope to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 270,000 tonnes with its new measures by 2030, but that’s still a fraction of the 4.55 million tonnes of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere annually from landfill waste.

“We are quite late in our goals,” Charette said.

Even while provincial authorities take on the goal of better managing organic waste, there is still the issue of dealing with recycled paper.

The City of Montreal’s sorting centres continue to accept paper products, but for now there is no solution to recycle the material.

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“We are still in the crisis about the paper for sure,” Jean-François Parenteau, a Montreal executive member, said at the press conference.

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