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MRC consults with public on new waste management plan

The council room at the MRC du Haut-Saint-Laurent was packed on March 12 for a public consultation session on the draft residual materials management plan (PGMR).

Numerous stakeholders were present, testifying to the importance accorded to this subject, including MRC prefect Louise Lebrun, MRC director general Pierre Caza, Saint-Anicet mayor Gino Moretti, several municipal representatives, and Haut-Saint-Laurent UPA president Éric Leboeuf, as well as members of local environmental groups and concerned citizens.

Émilie Escafit, the MRC’s waste management coordinator, presented a summary of the new PGMR, which was strongly inspired by the 2016-2020 plan and the goals outlined in Quebec’s residual materials management policy. However, it also includes ambitious objectives accompanied by a detailed action plan that lays out the urgency of acting to reduce the amount of materials destined for landfill.

“If we do nothing, I don’t see how we can avoid a tax increase,” said Escafit, suggesting that the cost to dispose of residual materials will skyrocket in the coming years because of planned increases to the government fee for landfilling waste material.

To avoid this, the MRC has set itself six objectives, of which three are directly related to organic waste. The first involves reductions in the amount of residual waste sent to landfill by 22 per cent by 2031, particularly through the use of brown bins and the processing of organic materials. A second objective revolves around providing access to organic waste management services for 100 per cent of the territory, while a third priority is to recycle 60 per cent of all organic waste by 2031.

“The goal is to eliminate the green bin. We have no choice,” declared Lebrun, who admits that while the blue recycling bin is widely known and has been adopted by most of the population, the brown bin is much less so. Some of the more rural municipalities have opted to provide home composting bins to residents, while others offer door-to-door collection.

Escafit noted that the MRC will be participating in the development of an organic waste processing centre in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, in collaboration with neighbouring MRCs. She explained this new centre should become a reality within the next two to three years.

“We need all the municipalities to do their part,” said Escafit, as well as citizens, businesses, and institutions. The draft PGMR also aims to recover 70 per cent of waste generated by the construction sector.

A planned ecocentre project in Franklin will eventually join those already underway in Saint-Anicet, Sainte-Barbe, and Ormstown, while the possibility of launching mobile ecocentres to reach underserved areas remains unconfirmed for the time being.

All participants in the consultation session agreed that the priority in the fight against waste generation must be to reduce it at the source, because waste that does not exist does not need to be treated or landfilled.

The draft PGMR and the summary presented during the consultation are both available on the MRC website at MRCHSL.com/pgmr.

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