Tuesday, February 02, 2010

More good municipal environmental news! Composting to come!

So the city announced yesterday that they are going to spend money on plants and a collection system for dealing with organic waste. This is great news. It took them long enough but at least they are doing something. This is a dirty city, and I mean that on the individual level. People in Montreal seem to think it's okay to litter, let your dog shit anywhere and not pick it up and leave your garbage unsecured on the street and hope for the city to come to get it. And the city has tolerated, even encouraged that kind of behaviour. It creates a culture of entitlement where if you dare ask a Montreal to be responsible for their garbage, many of them will get all outraged.

We really need a punitive system of fines to straighten the culture out (personally, I'd prefer a system of fines and beatings, but I'm a fascist and I'll compromise with the dominant political system for the time being). It would be relatively simple to implement a system where every household (and apartment block) gets a certain amount of garbage picked up for free, based on the size of a bin or a bag. If you go above that size, you have to purchase more bags for a fee, something not too cheap but still feasible, so it would hurt but households that just had to waste would still put their garbage out rather than storing it in their basement. There would be no limit on recycling or biodegradable waste. There would also be a hefty fine for putting the wrong garbage in the wrong bin or bag.

Then you hire a fleet of eager young people to go up and down the streets on garbage day and hand out tickets (and an education on why it is so important to properly sort one's garbage). It would be a huge revenue stream for the city and get people in line pretty quickly. Furthermore, it would indirectly put pressure on manufacturers, food producers and retailers to start to cut down the amount of packaging they use, as consumers would be more wary of how much garbage they are producing (a minor influence, I'll admit, but it's a start).

These same laws should be applied to businesses as well, though with greater quantities allowed depending on the industry. Currently, business in Montreal do not have to recycle (I mean, come on, how fucked up is that?).

I'm not someone who is generally in favour of greater bureaucracy or lots of tickets being handed out, but being responsible about one's own waste is something we all have control over to a much, much greater degree than is being exercised right now. Currently, I live in the hippest, toniest part of the city and it is a fucking disgrace, an embarrassment how dirty it is. There is literally garbage blowing up and down the street. East Oakland has less litter in the gutter than my street. Hastings and Main is cleaner. It's fucking astounding.

On the home front, our compost in the back is quite close to the top of the lid. About two weeks ago, we had a serious thaw where it hit up 9 degrees and I was hoping for some minor decomposition, but we didn't get much. Yesterday, I had the naive hope that perhaps the bottom was hollow (we scoop the finished compost out of the bottom) and tried to climb up on it and stamp it down. The thing is a solid block of ice. It was like trying to stamp down a cinder block. I felt foolish.

But oh when the spring thaw comes, that is going to decompose fast into some sweet compost!

1 comment:

Jason L said...

It's so warm out here in Vancouver (9 degrees every day for weeks) that they are trucking in snow for the Olympics (nice carbon footprint). But it is awesome for the decomposition. I'm digging organic waste straight into the garden plot.

Continue the fight! Glad to see that the organic waste trial in Montreal has been turned into a citywide program. Progressive.