Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Recycling Household Waste Is Going to Be Tough, and It's Not Clear Whether They've Got That Leaf Thing Right

The Quebec government says it wants to ban "green" and recyclable waste from landfills within a decade, starting with paper and cardboard with the aim of lowering average household waste from 810 to 700 kilograms per year. It announced Monday that it will be earmarking $650 million over the next ten years for projects, including new recycling sites.

That’s good news in the main, altough as always the devil will be in the details. If we’re talking mostly about things like garden waste and grass clippings, there should be few problems. But when it comes to kitchen scraps, I can see major difficulties.

Let me say that I’ve been composting ever since we move in this house, more than 30 years ago, so I know just how scraps can stink if you don’t handle them right, and also what a mess you can have if you spill a container full of stuff ready to go on the compost heap. By now I’ve got the hang of it, so except in years when we have so many pears that they ferment in the compost, we don’t have smell. That's the result of trial and error, though, and I don't think it would be wise to leave much to chance if you want to get everyone recycling kitchen waste.

What will be needed is a concerted campaign to educate people on what they can compost—egg shells maybe, but no meat scraps, for example. And the pickups have to be absolutely reliable, otherwise people are just going to bundle things up and put it all out for the regular trash collection. We have run into that this fall, when pick up dates for leaves have been unclear: it seems that most folks have either just raked everything into the street, or put leaves in garbage bags. That's no way to solve a problem.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Martin Langeland said...

Uhmm... Mary:
You got played by the previous commenter. The link is to a porn site. Generalised remarks (Gee what a great site!) followed by a link to an unrelated site is a common form of spam/viral advertising now.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Thought I'd trashed it--it was the third attempt that the person/robot had made. But now I think it's gone.

Thanks for noticing, Martin.