Tam Davis

It’s time to green up. TBL just launched the brown bin composting program adopted by the Brome-Missisquoi MRC to comply with the Quebec Government’s announced goal to compost 100% of our organic waste by 2020. TBL distributed the bins in December, a 240 litre bin for roadside collection (bi-weekly in winter and weekly during the summer) and a small bin for indoor home collection. The 2019 collection schedules for Zones 1 and 2 were sent to residents during the week of January 21st.

According to RECYC-QUÉBEC, organic waste, mostly food leftovers and garden waste, accounts for 45% to 60% of total residential waste that is transported to landfill sites. That statistic excludes waste that some residents compost at home. Many of us are reluctant to compost, believing the process is complicated, time-consuming, difficult in winter, prone to generate offensive odours and attract insects, maggots, raccoons, rodents and other pests.

The MRC/TBL brown bin program addresses these issues by encouraging residents to place compostable waste in the bin, leaving to experts the collection, composting and recycling process on an industrial scale to meet our 100% goal. Residents can continue to compost at home, but must use the brown bin for other organic waste, such as meat, fish and sugary foods. A win-win proposition, complementing existing home composting while diverting significant volumes of additional materials from landfills to be recycled as compost.

What organic materials can you put in your bin?

Generally, food (fruit, vegetables, dairy products, flour, bread and pastries, meat, fish and seafood, fats, bones, eggshells) in any form (whether fresh or spoiled, expired, raw, cured or cooked), garden waste and residue, small branches (4 cm diameter, 60 cm long), soiled non-coated paper or cardboard, cold ashes, hair, feathers, small wooden products, pet litter or excrement, paper towels and soiled paper tissues, bags (not plastic or biodegradable). If in doubt, ask yourself: “Is it edible or part of something edible, paper or cardboard, garden residue?” If the answer is yes, put it in the bin.

Some expressed concern that contaminated material such as pet excrement or soiled paper tissues end up in compost to grow food. Valérie Nantais-Martin, the MRC’s environment coordinator explained that materials from the brown bins are brought to a special composting platform in Cowansville where they will organically heat up to more than 70 degrees C for many hours thus killing all harmful bacteria. The compost will be distributed to citizens later this year.

TBL’s website helps you identify your Pick-up Zone and provides links to sites with practical tips to help you manage your brown bin. Download the “Ça va où ?” app to learn what waste material is acceptable. Consult the MRC’s website at mrcbm.qc.ca for Tricks and Tips on how to clean the bin, freeze odorous food scraps, wrap certain materials and make newspaper bin liners.

See TBL’s complete list of materials acceptable for brown bins at https://ville.lac-brome.qc.ca/organic-materials/