Ten Tips to Reduce Household Waste

In Québec, much of our waste consists of organic and recyclable materials that could be diverted from landfills. Here are 10 tips for reducing your waste at the source:

  • Before recycling a broken object, try to repair it.
  • Avoid over-packaged and individually packaged products.
  • Buy second-hand goods when possible.
  • To avoid wasting food, buy smaller amounts based on your needs.
  • Take an inventory of your refrigerator and cupboards before going grocery shopping. Plan your meals around what you already have, and then shop for the missing items. Avoid buying duplicates!
  • Buy locally to decrease the time between production and delivery. The food will stay fresher longer!
  • Freeze meals so they don’t spoil.
  • Avoid buying plastic water bottles; instead, drink from water fountains or re-usable bottles.
  • If it still works, donate your old computer equipment to a local organization. If it no longer works, take it to a recycling plant, a store or your local ecocentre.
  • Visit your ecocentre. You might find what you’re looking for! You can also drop off construction debris, wood, metal, appliances, and more!

More tips


Recyclable Material:

  • Paper and cardboard
  • Plastic
  • Metal: clean food cans, clean aluminum cans, plates and foil, empty paint cans (dry, lids removed)
  • Glass: rinsed containers, bottles and jars
  • Other: oil and antifreeze containers

Non Recyclable Material:

  • Clothing
  • Batteries
  • Hoses, rope or thread
  • Garden furniture
  • Toys
  • Propane tanks
  • Chemicals
  • Pool products or items
  • Hypodermic needles


Compostable Materials (industrial composting):

  • Table scraps
  • Fruits and vegetables, corn cobs
  • Egg, nut and peanut shells
  • Bread and pasta
  • Meat, poultry, fish and cooked seafood
  • Fatty substances
  • Dairy products
  • Coffee grounds and filters, teabags, herbal teas
  • Spoiled foods, packaging removed
  • Hair
  • Paper and cardboard (non-waxed) soiled by food (napkins, pizza boxes, paper towels, etc.)
  • Plants and flowers
  • Grass, hay and straw
  • Dead leaves and evergreen needles
  • Small branches (no more than 1/2 inch in circumference) and wood chips

Non Compostable Materiel (industrial composting):

  • Bones
  • Oyster and mussel shells
  • Rocks and logs
  • Animal litter
  • Plastic bags
  • Expired medications
  • Personal care products
  • Vacuum cleaner dust or dryer lint
  • Dead animals
  • Textiles
  • Ashes
  • Cigarette butts
  • Biodegradable diapers
  • Rhubarb leaves and cedar scraps—these plants give off molecules harmful to insects that help with decomposition


Materials Accepted at Ecocentres:

  • Furniture (outdoor and indoor)
  • Household appliances
  • Metal objects
  • Plastic objects (e.g. toys)
  • Cardboard
  • Organic waste (leaves, grass, branches, soil, etc.)
  • Electric and electronic appliances (televisions, computers, radios, cell phones, etc.)
  • Used oils and antifreeze
  • Propane tanks
  • Construction debris

Materials Not Accepted at Ecocentres:

  • Hazardous household waste (paint, toxic products, batteries, etc.)
  • Tires

Other services at the ecocentre:

  • Soil for flower beds, gardens and lawns for sale
  • Compost for sale
  • Mulch for sale (natural, red and black)
  • 0 to ¾ inch and ¾-inch gravel, and stone dust for sale
  • Confidential document-shredding service

A week to focus on reducing

The Semaine québécoise de réduction des déchets (Québec waste reduction week) takes place every October, organized by Action RE-buts and RECYC-QUÉBEC. The week’s activities aim to inform, educate and inspire Québecers, municipalities and businesses about ways to reduce waste all across the province.