Organic Waste Collection FAQ

Q: Why do we have an organic waste collection?
A: Montreal area landfills are near capacity and new provincial regulations will be coming into effect.  In 2020, the Politique Québécoise de gestion des matières résiduelles will prohibit landfilling biodegradable organic waste. They will no longer accept organic matter due to the lack of space and the creation of new brown bin collections diverting organic waste to composting sites.

Q:  How will an organic collection help?
A: Organic matter represents 45 % (by volume) of the waste sent to landfills. As well, landfill costs are 30% higher than the costs to recycle organic matter. Hampstead produces over 2,000 tons of waste per year and by diverting organic matter from landfills we can generate significant savings.

Q: What is organic waste?
A: Organic waste includes all cooked and uncooked table scraps such as fruits, vegetables, meat, bones, bread, pasta, cereals, paper towels, and so on.  A complete list will be inserted in our February newsletter and be posted to our website.

Q:  What about the smell?
A: We suggest:

  • Lining your kitchen bin with newspaper or a paper bag, and empty it daily.
  • The kitchen bin is dishwasher safe.
  • For your curbside bin, you can put newspapers and cereal boxes on the bottom or line it with a big paper leaf bag (the kind you use in the fall for leaves).
  • Put your brown bin out for collection every week, even if it’s not full.
  • Store your bin in a shady place out of the sun.
  • Place meat and bone scraps in paper bags/newspaper in the freezer until pickup day.
  • Rinse the brown bin with water and mild detergent or vinegar as needed.

Q:  What if my bin isn’t big enough?
A: Organic matter represents 45% of your garbage bin. If you are currently using a 240L garbage bin, then a 120L brown bin will be big enough.

Remember, for now you are putting organics and garbage together in the same bin. Once you remove the organics there will be 45% less in your garbage bin.

Q:  What if it’s not big enough to hold leaves?
A: You can still put your green waste in large leaf collection bags, cardboard boxes or small reusable bins. Just put them out beside your brown bin on collection day.

Q: What if I have excess kitchen waste?
A: If your brown bin is full, you can use paper bags, cardboard boxes or reusable containers. These should be put out beside your brown bin only on collection day.

Q: What if I don’t want to participate?
A: By 2020, organic matter will no longer be accepted in landfills. In the meantime, the Town is implementing its organic waste collection as a transitional measure in order to gradually integrate residents into these new practices. We strongly encourage you to participate in the organic waste collection because in 2020 it will be subject to regulation.

Q:   Can apartments get a brown bin?
A:    No, the organic waste program applies to dwellings of 9 units or less.

Q:  Can I use regular plastic bags to collect organics?
A: No. Plastic bags (even the biodegradable ones) are not compostable. But you can use paper bags.

Q:  What about the Green Collection?
A: The organic collection replaces the Green Collection. It includes all yard and garden waste plus kitchen waste.

Q:  What happens to the organic material after it’s been collected?
A: It’s turned into compost at an organic waste treatment facility. Huge amounts of organic material are carefully managed so the compost gets very hot. This means that compost can be made using items that can’t be easily composted in a back yard, such as bones, fish skins and dairy products. It takes just 180 days to make compost from the time you put them out for collection.

Q:  When did the collection begin?
A: The first curbside organic waste collection took place on Wednesday, March 30 2016.

Q:  What time do I put out the brown bin?
A: Organic collection will start from 7 am. Your bin can be taken out after 6:00 pm the night before. The wheels must be placed facing your house, just like the garbage bins.

Q:  What are the benefits of composting?

  • It removes 45% of all refuse currently being sent to landfills;
  • The reduction of greenhouse gases;
  • The production of compost to enrich soil.

Q:  What is compost?
A: Compost is recycled organic matter like food scraps and yard waste that is turned into a humus-like soil booster that can be used for gardening and landscaping.