Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Montreal wants you to know it hasn’t forgotten about its pledge to become a zero-waste city by 2030.
On Wednesday, the city’s executive committee adopted the Plante administration’s ambitious five-year plan to change the way the city manages garbage.
“Everybody has a role to play,” said Laurence Lavigne-Lalonde, the executive committee member responsible for the ecological transition.
The COVID-19 crisis may have forced the city to put its plans to fight climate change on the back burner for a little while, but for the Plante administration, reducing waste has never stopped being a top priority.
“Climate change and zero waste are not just words. We are really putting those words in action. Even though we are fighting different crises, we still work on those objectives,” Lavigne-Lalonde explained.
The city said the new plan has been thoroughly studied by since it was presented last year. Becoming a zero waste city will not happen without a huge increase in composting. According to the city only half a million households have access to composting right now.
“What we know right now is that 55 per cent of what we send to landfills can be composted, so this is the first thing,” said Lavigne-Lalonde.
Right now, buildings with nine units or more are not composting, except for in a handful of boroughs where a pilot project is underway. The city wants that to change in the coming months.
They are planning a door-to-door information campaign to explain the benefits of composting, but that’s being delayed by the pandemic.
“By 2025, every citizen of Montreal will be able to participate in the compost,” claimed Lavigne-Lalonde.
The city wants both individuals and companies to think about how they can waste less food.
“That’s something we are going to work really hard on, and we are going to have another consultation on that specific subject,” said Lavigne-Lalonde.
The city says the battle against climate change informs every decision it makes. As part of the new plan, companies that are awarded waste management contracts are also being asked to evaluate their impact on the climate.
The David Suzuki Foundation congratulated the city for the plan.
“If we can do better with the waste in the city of Montreal, that represents about half the population of the province, I think we’ll be one step further ahead in preserving our climate for the province,” said Louise Henault-Ethier, Science Project Manager with the David Suzuki Foundation.
A city-wide ban on certain single use plastics could come as early as next year, as the city tries to push people to use more reusable containers at grocery stores and coffee shops.
The city is also studying the possibility of reducing garbage collection to every two weeks to push people to throw out less.