Quebec Takes Steps to Advance Organics Recycling

Quebec to eliminate landfill disposal of organics by 2020.

In October, the Quebec environment ministry announced action steps to be taken to meet the province's goal of diverting 60% of organic residuals from landfills by 2015 and eliminate landfill disposal of organics by 2020.  This effort includes considerable focus on getting the broader public to adopt daily organics recycling habits that mirror their recycling of bottles, cans, newsprint, etc.  According to a poll, 76% of Québécois say they are willing to participate. 

In December, RECYC-Québec announced several requests for proposals for project work that will provide critical tools in the effort to divert organics from landfills.  These projects include:

  • developing a guide to best practices for limiting odors in organics management operations,
  • creating tools for optimizing biosolids recycling to soils,
  • creating a tool to support decision-making about use of recycled organics in agriculuture, and
  • developing stategies for improving social acceptability of organics recycling.

Just as in Vermont (see "In Brief," below), Quebec municipalities are being encouraged to provide organics collection and composting solutions for their citizens, in order to help the province meet its organics diversion goals.  But what is notable in Quebec is that the same organizations (the environment ministry, RECYC-Québec, and RNCREQ) are also focused on diverting biosolids and septage from landfills.  A guide for municipal officials, published recently by RNCREQ (an environmental advocacy group), emphasizes that municipal biosolids should be recycled rather than landfilled and residents should be encouraged to properly manage their septic systems and be provided with options for septage management.

Marc Hébert of the Quebec ministry notes that, in Quebec, the recycling of biosolids and other fertilizing residuals continues to increase slowly, "thanks to the efforts of many in the private and public sectors and the tax imposed on disposal.... This recycling has contributed to the prosperity and sustainability of approximately 1,300 participating farms that recycled about 1.1 million tonnes of municipal and industrial residuals."