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!
- Paper and cardboard
- 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:
- Hoses, rope or thread
- Garden furniture
- Propane tanks
- 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
- 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):
- Oyster and mussel shells
- Rocks and logs
- Animal litter
- Plastic bags
- Expired medications
- Personal care products
- Vacuum cleaner dust or dryer lint
- Dead animals
- 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)
- 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.)
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.