This series of tips (including useful addresses, when appropriate) is in keeping with the Town of Mount Royal Sustainable Development Plan (2016), which the Town uses as a basis for coordinating several of its green initiatives.
- JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2019
- MARCH AND APRIL 2019
- MAY AND JUNE 2019
- JULY AND AUGUST 2019
- SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER 2019
- NOVEMBER 2019
Recycle your electronic devices
All of us have them at home. They’re often found in a pile in the back of storage spaces. Now obsolete or too slow, they’re set aside and quickly forgotten once they’re replaced with the latest device.
Your initial reflex not to throw them out with your household waste is the right one. Bravo! The next step is to recycle them. Once old electronic devices are freed from their hiding places, recycling them couldn’t be easier: simply leave them at one of the many official Recycle My Electronics drop-off locations near you.
Electronic devices contain recyclable materials like glass, plastic, gold, silver, copper and palladium, all of which can and should be recovered.
Under the Recycle My Electronics program, some 15.5 million devices are recycled each year in Canada. Actually, since the program’s creation in 2009, around 100 million devices have been recycled. Recycling one million laptop computers saves an amount of energy equivalent to the electricity used by 3,657 homes in a year.
Important: Protect your privacy! Before recycling your electronic device, delete all personal data from it (but be sure to make a backup copy first!).
• All types of computers: PCs, portables, servers;
• Computer accessories: all types of printers, ink cartridges, scanners, fax machines, monitors (CRT, LCD, etc.), mice, keyboards, CD-ROMs, diskettes, networking hardware, switches, routers, modems, UPSes, office hardware, telecommunications hardware, etc.
• Computer parts: hard drives, optical drives, memory, microprocessors, adaptors, power supplies, cooling systems, motherboards, PC cards, various green circuit boards, etc.
• All types of cables: USB, Ethernet, VGA, DVI, HDMI, IDE, power, connecting, printer, monitor, etc.
• All types of batteries: lead, portable, small, etc.
• All types of electronics: TVs, TV terminals, satellite receivers, VHS players, stereo systems, amplifiers, cellular telephones, camera- and phone-based video monitoring systems, etc.
Official Recycle My Electronics drop-off locations in or near Town of Mount Royal:
Renaissance – Librairie Beaumont, 1244 Beaumont Avenue, Mount Royal, Quebec, H3P 3E5
Bureau en Gros – Town of Mount Royal, 4205 Jean-Talon Street West, Montreal, Quebec, H4P 2T6, 514 344-3044
Bureau en Gros – Marché Central, 1041 Marché Central Street, Montreal, Quebec, H4N 1J8, 514-383-6323
Best Buy – Marché Central, 8871 Acadie Boulevard, Montreal, Quebec H4N 3K1
Écocentre Côte-des-Neiges, 6925 Côte-des-Neiges Road, Montreal, Quebec, H3S 2B6
Écocentre Saint-Laurent, 3535 Sartelon Street, Montreal, Quebec, H4R 1E6
Électrobac-Centre Rockland – 2305 Rockland Road., Mount Royal, Quebec, H3P 3E9
Recovery bin for small electronic devices only. The bin is located next to the column to the right of the food court escalator.
You can also drop off, you can drop off your BATTERIES, INK CARTRIDGES AND USED CELLULAR TELEPHONES at bins in the following municipal buildings:
• 10 Roosevelt Avenue (Public Security)
• 180 Clyde Road (Public Works)
• 1050 Dunkirk Road (municipal arena)
• 1967 Graham Boulevard (Reginald J. P. Dawson Library).
Make more room for plant protein in your diet
Launched by the Minister of Health, the new version of Canada’s Food Guide https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/ recommends regularly eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and protein-rich foods. And in the last category, foods rich in plant proteins should be those eaten most often. The new edition of the guide recommends pulses (beans and lentils), chickpeas, tofu, nuts and seeds as well as animal proteins such as meat, fish, eggs and yogurt.
As the guide notes, plant proteins, which can provide more fibre and less saturated fat than other protein-rich foods, appear to be beneficial for heart health.
Eating less meat to help save the planet?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in addition to having a positive impact on your health, eating less meat can also help shrink your ecological footprint. This United Nations agency, which leads the global effort to eliminate hunger, is also interested in climate change, a phenomenon certain to affect food production.
In the FAO’s view, greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activity are the main factor behind modern-day climate change. And the agrifood industry – which includes agriculture proper, ranching, fishing and aquaculture – is a significant contributor.
Livestock production alone is responsible for nearly two-thirds of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and 78 percent of agricultural methane emissions.
That being said, production methods in countries around the globe are not identical. A BBC News article titled “Climate change food calculator: What's your diet's carbon footprint?” cites a 2018 study in which British researchers Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecek showed that there are great differences in the land, methods and resources used to raise livestock or to produce any food. As an example, they point to beef cattle raised on deforested land, which generate 12 times more greenhouse gas emissions than pasture-raised cattle.
Poore and Nemecek’s study concludes that, general speaking, growing lentils and nuts generates less greenhouse gas emissions than, for example, raising beef or lamb.
The complete Poore and Nemecek study, Reducing Food’s Environmental Impacts Through Producers and Consumers, appeared in the June 2018 issue of Science and can be found on Dr. Poore’s website.
Turn off your lights for Earth Hour on March 30 at 20:30!
This March 30, connect to the planet and turn off your lights in support of the Earth Hour movement. At 8:30 p.m., Eastern Time, take part in the 2019 edition of this annual event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which aims to draw attention to wildlife loss in communities around the world.
Earth Hour started as a symbolic event in Sydney in 2007 and has since become the biggest environmental movement in the world, inspiring individuals, communities, companies, and organizations in more than 180 countries across 6 continents and in 24 time zones to support the fight against climate change and help reverse wildlife decline. Follow the movement and turn off your lights.
In the long term...
Electricity is relatively affordable in Quebec and mainly produced by hydroelectric power stations, which emit less CO2than oil or coal. That said, by limiting your energy use and reducing your home power bill, you’re making a difference for yourself and the environment. A multitude of tips on how to be more energy-efficient are now available on the Hydro-Québec website. You can easily find great tips to help you save on your heating, home appliances, lighting, and hot water.
For its part, the Town of Mount Royal is supporting several initiatives working to reduce energy consumption. In particular, the Town has collaborated with Hydro-Québec to offer three Ecofitt product kits at a competitive price to help residents save water and energy. Modernize your showerheads for significant water and energy savings! Each of these three kits contains nine quality products, including faucet aerators, leak detection tablets, and a low-flow showerhead.
Earth Massage handheld showerhead Price: $20, taxes included.
Earth Massage fixed showerhead Price: $15, taxes included.
SAVA fixed showerhead Price: $10, taxes included.
The kits are available for purchase at the Town Hall front desk, at 90 Roosevelt Avenue, during the office’s regular opening hours.
For more information: 514-734-3021 or 514-734-3026.
AIR QUALITY AND WOOD HEATING:
ONLY USE STOVES AND FIREPLACES APPROVED BY THE EPA (ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY)
The original design and philosophy that inspired our Model City were largely derived from England’s garden suburb and garden city movements at the end of the nineteenth century. The aim of these urban ideals was to find solutions to the public health crisis that gripped society at the height of the Industrial Revolution. In his vision of garden-lined cities of tomorrow, Ebenezer Howard advocated for the creation of new types of urban areas that reintegrated nature in contrast to the cities scarred by industrialization, whose citizens were suffocating under the pollution and small airborne particles generated by the overuse of charcoal.
In our corner of the world, the problem is not coal combustion, but rather the fine particles emitted by wood heating. When highly concentrated in the air, these particles have adverse effects on the health of the population, especially vulnerable individuals, i.e. children, the elderly, and people with asthma, emphysema, or heart disease. In winter, these effects can be exacerbated when weather conditions poorly disperse atmospheric pollutants, producing frequent seasonal smog.
Particulate pollution has visible consequences
Of the particles emitted by wood heating, those with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) cause the greatest health concerns. These suspended particles are so small that when inhaled, they settle on the surface of the pulmonary alveoli and impair gas exchange, which impacts the respiratory and cardiovascular system by, for example, aggravating symptoms of asthma through the irritation and inflammation of the bronchi. Winter smog, of which residential wood heating is a contributing factor, is mainly comprised of fine particles.
Temperature inversions are weather phenomena that impair the dispersion of air pollutants. Under normal conditions, warm, less dense air rises into the cool upper atmosphere, carrying pollutants with it. This is known as vertical dispersion. Temperature inversions produce the exact opposite by allowing a layer of warm air to remain stationary above a colder air mass, thereby trapping the cold air at ground level. The denser and heavier cold air does not rise under temperature inversion, and prevents vertical dispersion, thus imprisoning pollutants at ground level.
Pollutants in smoke from wood fires
Fireplaces, which are peaceful, romantic, and harmless at first glance, produce smoke containing over a hundred different toxic substances:
- Fine particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter (PM2.5)
- Carbon monoxide (CO)
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
- Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
- Several irritants
A by-law inspired by the garden city of today
To counter the effects of pollution generated by wood burning, the Town of Mount Royal will enact a new by-law concerning solid-fuel heating and cooking units. Effective September 1, 2020, the use of any combustion appliance (stove or fireplace) will be prohibited unless it is an appliance or fireplace certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with an emission rate of 2.5 g/h or less of fine particulate matter.
The Town will become Quebec’s third city to enact such a by-law, after Montréal and Dorval.
Specific details to consider in light of this new by-law
• As is currently the case, it is forbidden to use any solid-fuel appliance during a smog warning.
• As stipulated in by-law No. 1424, citizens who already had an EPA- or CAN/CSA-B415.1-certified pellet appliance installed before January 25, 2017, may continue to use it.
• Any appliance may be used during power outages longer than three hours.
Pollution and firewood
Effects of smoke on health
Potential health effects of certain contaminants from wood smoke when overly concentrated in the air
|Carbon monoxide||CO||Headaches, nausea, dizziness, and aggravated angina in individuals with cardiac problems|
|Volatile organic compounds||VOCs||Irritation of the respiratory tract and breathing difficulties. Some VOCs, like benzene, are carcinogenic|
|Acrolein and formaldehyde||―||Irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract|
|Fine particles||PM2.5||Irritation of the respiratory tract, aggravation of cardiovascular diseases, and precocious mortality|
|Nitrogen oxides||NOx||Irritation of the respiratory system, breathing pain, coughing, and pulmonary edema|
|Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons||PAHs||Some PAHs are considered or suspected to be mutagenic or carcinogenic.|
|Dioxins and furans||―||Probably carcinogenic|
Who is at risk
Smoke from wood burning is harmful to everyone. However, some people are more at risk:
- People with a chronic heart or respiratory disease: their symptoms may be aggravated by breathing fine particles.
- The elderly: they are more susceptible to chronic diseases.
- Children: their respiratory and immune systems are still developing, and their higher respiratory rhythm can cause them to take in more pollutants when the air is polluted.
Pollutants from wood burning are causing an increasing number of Montréal residents to develop the following health problems:
- Aggravated asthma
- Childhood bronchitis
- Lung cancer
Zero waste objective - Adopt good habits
The best waste is none at all! To reduce our ecological footprint, it is always better to reduce than to reuse or recycle. Fortunately, there are simple things we can do to minimize the waste we generate.
- Always have a reusable coffee cup on hand to avoid using disposable cups.
- Choose bulk over packaged foods, as the (excessive) packaging is usually composed of non-recyclable materials.
- Keep bulk foods in reusable containers, such as glass jars or cloth pouches, or wrapped in beeswax food wraps.
- Don’t use straws in restaurants and avoid using them at home.
- Don’t buy single-use water bottles. Why not drink tap water? It’s excellent here, in Mount Royal and across Quebec!
- Always go grocery shopping with reusable bags (to carry your groceries and bag your produce).
- Donate large items that you no longer need but that are still in good condition instead of taking the easy route and throwing them out.
- Repair things instead of discarding them; for example, resew the button onto your shirt or have a shoemaker repair the sole of your shoe. There are many ways to give our belongings a second life.
- Cook your meals instead of eating prepared or restaurant-delivered meals. Your food will be much healthier and use a lot less packaging.
If you still have residual waste after adopting these habits, make sure to dispose of it properly and to help optimize waste collection and composting by following our Household Waste Disposal Guide. The Town of Mount Royal also intends to contribute to the Montréal community’s sustainable development objectives by implementing good environmental practices. Consult the Town of Mount Royal’s 2016–2020 Sustainable Development Plan.
As little milk poured into our morning bowl of cereal. A soft drink sipped as we go on our daily walk. A squirt of shampoo to wash the dog in the evening. Because of the containers involved, each of these apparently harmless actions actually involves a large number of recyclable resources. Where do the cartons, bottles and other containers we put in our recycling bins come from? And why should we care?
1. Why recycle?
Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill. It also gives recyclables a second life, as they will be used to make new products. In fact, some materials, like metal, can be recycled infinitely. Recycling is one of the most accessible ways to limit your impact on the environment.
Today, recyclable materials are no longer seen as undesirable. Instead, they are considered a resource that can be exploited. Dumping waste is costly besides being very harmful to the environment. According to an article published last year in Le Devoir, landfill sites are responsible for 20% of Canada’s emissions of methane, which is strongly linked to global warming. And Quebec plays a leading role in these emissions, with the equivalent of the load of a 25-tonne truck being dumped in our landfill sites every minute.
Also worth reading: La semaine québécoise de réduction des déchets (SQRD)
2. What is recycling?
On arriving at the sorting centre, recyclable materials are grouped by type and pressed into bales. The bales are sold to companies in Canada and abroad for transformation into new products. In the Urban Agglomeration of Montreal, nearly 200,000 tonnes of recyclables are processed annually.
In short, recycling lets us make new products while reducing the number of resources required. For example, recycling one tonne of paper saves 18 trees that would otherwise have been cut down, while five 2L plastic bottles are enough to make a sweater with!
3. What to recycle?
Paper, cardboard (fibreboard), metal, plastic, glass… nearly everything is recyclable!
There are a few exceptions to that rule, however:
– Most multi-material bags (chip and cereal bags, binders, etc.) are not recyclable, though milk and juice cartons are.
– Hazardous household waste (HHW) such as paint, tires, solvents, fluorescent tubes, etc.) should usually be taken to one of the Agglomeration’s Ecocentres or to where you bought them.
– Bulky items and construction waste have their own separate collection, every other Wednesday.
– No. 6 plastics go into household waste.
– Yard trimmings and food waste go into the compost bin (green or brown bin).
Questions about the drop-off points?
The Ça va où? website and app are designed to point you to the right drop-off points.
4. Tips and advice
– Rinsing your containers helps prevent mould, odours and contaminating other materials.
– Break down boxes to save space in the bin.
– If moving your bin is hard for you, speak with a neighbour. Bins can be shared and doing so might make everyone’s life a little easier.
– Complying with the collection schedule remains essential.
Note: Under Town of Mount Royal By-law No. 1358, bins must be placed on your property next to the sidewalk and may not be set out before 19:00 on the evening before the collection. The bins must be put away by 23:00 on the day of the collection. When put away, receptacles and bins kept outdoors must not be visible from the street and must be located at least 2 m from any property line.
For more information, call the Info Collection Line at 514 734-4123.
Zero waste objective - Adopt good habits
Eating local: Reducing your ecological footprint, one mouthful at a time
When we go grocery shopping, we don’t necessarily appreciate the impact of our food choices on the environment. On its website, GRAIN, an independent organization that advocates for biodiversity in the global food system, reports that between 44% and 57% of all greenhouse gas emissions are food system-related. That is why we should be looking closely at what we put in our shopping cart.
Eating food produced near our homes often reduces the pollution generated in transporting the goods to market. According to a Statistics Canada study, “Goods traveling by air use more than four times the amount of energy by weight as road transport, nearly 40 times more than rail and over 44 times more than marine.”
Also according to GRAIN, food transportation is responsible for some five or six percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
What’s more, when you buy local, less packaging is usually needed to keep the food in good condition all the way home. Buying local is a simple and effective way of ensuring that the distance travelled by the food you eat is reasonable. It also supports all the people directly and indirectly involved in producing, transporting, transforming and selling the products. And with 12% of Quebec jobs being related to the bio-food sector, it is clear that what we put in our shopping cart can make a difference.
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, buying local and in season is one way to limit your environmental impact. Not only is seasonal produce fresher, buying it also increases our awareness of local terroirs without pressuring famers to adopt practices not suited to their soil type, climate, precipitation, etc. In this way, it encourages more energy-efficient farming.
For information about seasonal fruit and vegetables, visit the Fraicheur Québec website (French only).
Looking for inspiration on new ways of showcasing local food on your table? See the collection of recipes (French only) using ingredients you’re likely have on hand and developed by the environmental organization Équiterre.
The Mount Royal Public Market: An opportunity to buy local products!
To encourage local buying, the Town recently began holding a public market. Every Thursday, from 15:00 to 19:00, around a dozen Quebec producers set up shop to present their fresh or prepared products on Moyle Road. Until August 29, you will be able to buy a wide variety of products, including fruits, vegetables and high-quality meat, not to mention teas, oils, stuffed olives, ready-to-eat dishes and baked goods. all in a warm and family-friendly setting.
A source of culinary inspiration and information about the products you have in hand, the producers are happy to help with your buying decisions. Don’t hesitate to ask them questions!
The public market also happens to coincide with the street food truck event in Connaught Park on Thursdays between 17:00 and 21:00.
Be sure to check out these two activities. And don’t forget to bring reusable bags to hold all your purchases!
Drinking water conservation and the My Blueprint campaign
Quebec is no stranger to excessive water consumption and can unfortunately be considered a leader in this regard. While the average global water consumption is 40 litres per person per day, in Quebec, 260 litres are consumed in the same time frame! (http://peep.reseau-environnement.com/)
To address this alarming situation at the environmental and economic level, the Government of Quebec has just launched the “My Blueprint” campaign, which aims to provide a “blueprint” index that calculates the toll our water consumption takes on our environment.
This campaign provides several accessible, simple, and effective ways to reduce this toll in view of achieving the goals set out in the 2019–2025 Quebec Strategy for Drinking Water Conservation.
In particular, this policy establishes the need to reduce the amount of water distributed per person by 20%, a major challenge that is nonetheless possible through a unified effort.
Priority 1: Choose eco-responsible alternatives
Think about the environment when it comes time to change certain household appliances! Certifications such as WaterSense® or EnergyStar© will help you make a more environmentally friendly choice, and in many cases results in savings. This includes hot water heating, which is the second largest source of residential energy consumption after heating, according to Hydro-Québec!
Furthermore, the Town of Mount Royal offers Hydro-Québec’s WaterSense® product kits at a reduced cost (between $10 and $20). These kits reduce the water use of several appliances by 20% and are available at the Town Hall counter (90 Roosevelt Avenue). Hydro-Québec also offers subsidies to households seeking to acquire new, more energy-efficient appliances. For an estimate of your potential annual savings and more information on kits and subsidies, visit Hydro-Québec's website.
Similarly, ENERGY STAR® certification, which identifies the highest-performing energy-efficient products in their category, can also make your decisions easier. Water savings can also be achieved through purchasing an eco-friendly dishwasher or washing machine, which uses 30% less water than normally required. Additionally, the My Blueprint campaign reminds us that if all Quebecers used a low-flow toilet, we would save the equivalent of 500,000 Olympic swimming pools per year!
Priority 2: Watch your faucets!
Shutting off the water while brushing your teeth, washing your face, or shaving saves up to 12 litres of water per minute! In addition to this routine change, installing faucet aerators in the bathroom and kitchen (provided in Hydro-Québec’s kits) would reduce water use by 30–40%.
Priority 3: Repair leaks as soon as possible!
Although leaks may appear to waste a harmless amount of water, they represent 12% of indoor residential consumption!
Therefore, testing and repairing leaks early is essential. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, a simple leaky faucet can waste up to 700 litres of water per month.
Unfortunately, it may be difficult to detect a leak that does not make any noise. Nonetheless, there are a few tips that can help you spot them! In particular, you can check the water meter reading before bedtime, making sure not to use any water afterwards. If you see in the morning that the number has changed, there may be a leak. To check for a leaking toilet, add a few drops of food colouring in the tank. If the bowl colours after a certain amount of time, there is a leak. Such leaks can waste up to 600 litres of water per day. Paying special attention to your home’s water leaks, which are typically inexpensive to repair, will inevitably have a positive impact on your environment.
Priority 4: Summer means reducing outside water consumption!
Throughout the Urban Agglomeration of Montreal, water use systematically spikes in the summer. Why? Watering, filling pools, and washing cars are thought to be the primarily culprits. Here are some tips to help change certain habits that are costly to taxpayers and the environment.
• Installing a rainwater collection system to wash your deck or water your garden or lawn can effortlessly save up to 6,000 litres of water each year. The Town can provide you with affordable equipment.
• Washing your car with a hose can use up to 300 litres of water. Using a bucket instead is an effective solution.
• Turning your gutters toward a green surface allows rain water to be effortlessly reused! Similarly, the Fédération interdisciplinaire de l’horticulture ornementale du Québec (Quebec Interdisciplinary Federation for Ornamental Horticulture) proposes planting vegetation that requires less water or retains it.
• The Town of Mount Royal’s by-law 1419 governs residents’ use of the water-supply system to optimize watering habits. According to this by-law:
- From May 1 to October 1, watering with a sprinkler or soaker hose is allowed between 6 and 8 a.m. and between 6 and 10 p.m. on even-numbered calendar days for buildings with an even civic number and on odd-numbered calendar days for buildings with an odd civic number.
- The same logic applies to buildings with an automatic watering system, whose operation is permitted at night between 3 and 6 a.m.
- The water from these systems must not spill over into public spaces or your neighbour’s land.
- Finally, it is worth remembering that washing paved surfaces, patios, and exterior walls is prohibited at all times, except during construction or landscaping or when addressing a health hazard.
To calculate your blueprint and get more tips and tricks on how to reduce it, visit the Government’s My Blueprint page and take the quiz.
Looking for activities to address water conservation issues with your children? The Fantastiko website has a wealth of informative fact sheets and suggested activities on this topic.
A Tree for my Neighbourhood: The Benefits of Trees
They regulate the temperature
Trees help regulate the temperature of their environment. In summer, they can prevent heat islands from forming. Moreover, trees can keep a room with a window situated in their shade cooler by 2 °C to 8 °C and thereby reduce air conditioner use by 7% to 47%, depending on the number and location of the trees. (More details)
Conversely, in winter, strategically placed greenery can reduce heating requirements by nearly two degrees by creating a wind shield that prevents much of the cold air from penetrating. (More details)
The combined positive impacts that trees have on the temperature of a property result in the reduced production of greenhouse gases and less energy consumption from air conditioning and heating.
They filter the air
In addition to capturing carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the most powerful greenhouse gases, trees filter out a large quantity of air pollutants. According to the Canadian Forestry Association, a single large tree can filter out up to 7,000 dust particles per litre of air, making our environment more breathable. We must not forget the main function of trees: a single healthy tree can produce enough oxygen for four people!
They reduce ambient noise
Trees and shrubs generally help reduce noise levels by three to five decibels. A green belt can dampen twice as many decibels, which is the equivalent of a highway noise barrier!
They purify water
An oak tree, for example, intercepts, absorbs, and filters more than 40,000 gallons of water per year, releasing it as oxygen and water vapour. This has positive impacts on city environments, as forest transpiration cools ambient air, purifies water (reducing water purification costs for municipalities), and slows down runoff, thereby lessening the impacts of adverse phenomena such as local flooding, waste water discharge, and sewer back-ups.
They enhance well-being
The impacts of trees are being studied for the many personal benefits they provide. We have already observed that people who are surrounded by trees every day experience significantly less stress and manage it better, have better concentration, are generally healthier, have a greater quality of life, and are more satisfied with their lives.
TMR’s Tree Donation Program
Wheter to mark the passing of a loved one or the arrival of a new borned, it is possible to make a tree donation to the Town. This good deed will be a contribution to the green-space heritage of the municipality.
KITCHEN WASTE COLLECTION: SMALL GESTURE, BIG IMPACT
What is compost? What are the benefits of composting?
Compost is the particularly rich soil that results from the transformation and decomposition of organic matter, which can then be used to fertilize soil and gardens! Like recycling, the goal of composting is to divert as much matter as possible from landfills by reusing it, i.e. giving it a second life. Given that 25% of household waste is made up of compostable food waste, your participation in the kitchen waste collection helps protect the environment in many ways.Storing waste in landfills should be a last resort, once all other options for recovery and reuse have been considered.
When it comes to generating waste, the key is to reduce it at its source. Meal planning, buying only the food you have time to eat, and buying in bulk are all good ways to reduce your waste production. According to RECYC-QUÉBEC, 63% of discarded food could have been consumed. As such, food waste and overconsumption result in significant losses: the average household throws away 140 kg of food each year, or $1,100 in groceries.
Here are some resources to help you reduce waste in your kitchen:
• The National Zero Waste Council’s “Love Food Hate Waste” website is a great resource for learning how to plan, cook, and keep food fresh longer.
• The Vide-frigo tool on glouton.ca is a search engine that provides you with recipes based on the ingredients you have in your fridge.
• Equiterre’s recipes are also organized based on the food in your fridge, specifically vegetables.
Despite our efforts to reduce food waste, some residual waste is inevitable: peels, coffee grounds, tea leaves, eggshells, etc. But this food waste can be transformed into compost! It is important to understand that landfills are not a solution and lead to many problems, particularly for those who live in the areas in which they are located. In addition to the significant costs to our community, they produce a large amount of greenhouse gases, despite the technological advances designed to mitigate them. Contrary to popular belief, disposing of waste does not make it go away—far from it.
Your participation in the kitchen waste collection makes it possible to turn materials that would otherwise be cumbersome into a truly valuable resource. All of these aspects have led to the adoption of the Québec residual materials management policy (in French only), which will prohibit municipalities from using landfills to dispose of organic materials by 2020.
What can you compost?
Composting can sometimes seem daunting, as it can be difficult to change ingrained habits, such as learning where to dispose of table scraps or how to sort waste differently. The key is to take your time!
To integrate food waste collection into your daily life, start with what is most obvious: fruits and vegetables (along with their peels), coffee grounds, and eggshells. At your own pace, you can then incorporate meat and fish scraps (including bones) and grains (such as stale bread). Finally, few people know that even soiled paper towels, tissues, and cardboard (such as pizza boxes and unwaxed paper plates) are compostable, as long as they have not been exposed to chemicals:
Tips and tricks
Some may be reluctant to compost their food because they or their loved ones see it as a nuisance. But for every small problem, a simple, low-cost solution exists.
• Foods such as meat and fish tend to emit strong odours. To resolve the issue, keep them in the freezer until collection day or sprinkle some baking soda in your bin.
• To prevent foods from rotting, take your brown bin to the curb on collection day, even if it isn’t full.
• If fruit flies are an issue, cut a wine cork lengthwise and place it on top of the bin.
• To avoid buying paper bags (the only type accepted in Town of Mount Royal), make a bag out of newspaper. It will also help absorb any excess fluids that may accumulate at the bottom of your bin!
• In winter, waste must be specially packed to prevent it from freezing, which makes collection impossible.
• To clean your bin, use a solution of vinegar and water to remove any residue and odours.
Ready to take the leap?
If you wish to begin composting, the Town can provide you with a countertop bin and a brown rollout bin. Contact Info Collection at 514-734-4123 (if your residence type is served).
The countertop bin was designed for in-home use as a convenient way to dispose of food waste while preparing meals.
Once the countertop bin is full, empty it into the brown bin. The brown bin remains outside and is emptied by the Town on a weekly basis. The green rollout bin can also be used in summer as both collections are carried out simultaneously in our area.
Unfortunately, the use of plastic bags, even those that are certified as compostable or biodegradable, is not permitted for food waste collection in the Town of Mount Royal. Only paper bags are accepted. However, bags are not mandatory. This means that you can line your bin with newspaper for free!
Click here for more information about the composting process, as well as on where to find cellulose-lined paper bags.
ENERGY-EFFICIENT HEATING THIS WINTER
Winter is around the corner, and the time has come to address the issue of heating and its environmental impact. How can you reduce your ecological footprint and electricity bill without sacrificing comfort? Here are some tips and tricks to help you easily reduce your electricity consumption.
Why is it important?
In Canada, residential heating alone accounts for 61% of energy consumption and, together with air conditioning, accounts for up to 54% of the average electricity bill. With water heating, this number surges to 82% of household energy consumption. Generating power for heating puts a great deal of pressure on the environment and our resources. In the Canadian context, heating presents challenges with respect to energy transportation, greenhouse gas emissions, and repercussions at the point of generation. As such, energy production and consumption are responsible for 81% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. In this situation, the necessary solution is to reduce your energy consumption in ways that are accessible to you, particularly with the help of energy efficiency.
Insulation is key
Before changing your heating habits, it’s important to look at the insulation in your home. Your efforts will be wasted if numerous leaks allow drafts to enter and hot air to escape. There are a number of solutions to choose from. First, you can inspect doors and windows on a windy day, then seal any leaks. This is a fast and inexpensive approach that translates into real savings. In fact, according to a study conducted by Écohabitation, 27.5% of a house’s heat loss is due to air leaks. More information on how to locate and repair leaks can be found on pages 49 and 50 of “Keeping the Heat In,” published by Natural Resources Canada. Another approach is to caulk the garage door, especially if the garage is heated, and check the condition of the weatherstripping. And since nearly 30% of heat loss is due to poor window and door insulation, every small repair counts. Choosing energy-efficient glazing or applying a layer of thin plastic film to windows significantly reduces heat loss and helps maintain coolness in the summer. For example, Energy Star windows lead to average savings of 8% on your electricity bill during the winter. Lastly, temporarily caulking openings can be a good way to prevent drafts in your home. This includes all small openings that are not absolutely necessary, such as pet doors or mail slots if mail can also be placed in a mailbox outside.
Adjusting the temperature
Several simple rules can help you significantly reduce your heating expenses. According to the Hydro-Québec website, significant energy and financial savings can be achieved by lowering the thermostat at times. For example, lowering the temperature by 3 °C at night or when you go out for a few hours could save you 4% to 5% on your electricity bill. Also consider keeping doors closed, lowering the temperature in unoccupied rooms (you can adjust your thermostat down to 15 °C without encountering any issues), and closing the curtains at night.
Devices and appliances that meet your needs
When it comes to devices, electronic thermostats can reduce annual heating costs by nearly 10% compared to bimetallic thermostats and provide more stable and accurate temperature control. When it comes time to replace your appliances, it is also important to consider their energy consumption. Fortunately, there are tools designed to help you compare the various options available to you. This includes EnerGuide labels, which are mandatory for most appliances in Canada.
Saving energy can be both easy and gratifying. Kill two birds with one stone by inviting friends over for dinner and taking advantage of the heat generated from cooking and their presence! According to Écohabitation, a gathering of eight people produces as much heat as a metre-long baseboard heater. Add that to the heat produced by preparing the meal, and it’s clear that being social has never been more cost-effective!