Organic Residuals - News from Quebec

  • In 2015, Montreal announced plans to compost all residential food scraps by 2019, from a total of 435,000 addresses.  “This isbig step toward a green and sustainable city,” said mayor Denis Coderre in August.
  • Pulp and paper mill residuals use & disposal are summarized in this 2015 Canadian report.
  • Last fall, RECYC-QUEBEC announced that it has compiled nearly 200 research studies and reports regarding management of organic residuals in a spreadsheet available from RECYC-QUEBEC, en français.  The tabulation of documents provides resources for municipalities and companies planning and implementing organic residuals management programs.  
  • A research paper on wood ash recycling on agricultural land in Quebec has been made available in English.  It looks at wood ash use in northern climates, the current situation, and impacts and agrienvironmental practices.  Download from the WEAO website

    "The use of wood ash to improve soil pH and increase soil fertility, formerly a common practice, was largely abandoned in the early 20th century when alternative products arrived on the market (agricultural lime, muriate of potash). Burning large quantities of wood industry residues for energy purpose, contributed to increase availability of wood ash in Québec […]In 2007; more than 80 000tm were applied for agricultural purposes on 250 farms (Québec). Literature clearly shows that using ash is efficient for correction of soil acidity and contributes to bring nutrients to crops. Ash applications to soil also generally allow increase in crop yields compared to agricultural limestone. Its economic value has been estimated between 20 and 65 $/tm for normal ash. Its agricultural use could also reduce greenhouse gases emission, which may lead to credits of carbon. However, ash quality varies, mainly because of wood type, burning conditions and water addition. In addition, alkalinity, potassium and dust contents require both environmental and agronomic precautions. Government regulations and commercial standards (BNQ), govern their use. However, this underlying framework must be complemented with the use of best agronomic practices. Both regulations and appropriate practices allow safe and economical use of ash in agriculture, in accordance with sustainable development."

The original French version of this peer-reviewed article is also available online http://www.mddelcc.gouv.qc.ca/matieres/articles/Hébert.2008.agrosolutions.pdf.