How to reduce household waste


Fall is here in full force! The leaves are falling and it’s time to do the usual chores—raking leaves and cleaning flower beds and gardens. What will you do with all those leaves and green waste? In October, Action RE-buts and Recyc-Québec are joining forces to organize Québec Waste Reduction Week. The Week is an awareness-raising event with the aim of educating and motivating Québec citizens, municipalities and businesses to participate in the province-wide effort to reduce waste. How can you make a difference?

Here is what we find in garbage cans in Québec. Most of the waste is organic or recyclable, and could be sent elsewhere than to landfill!

10 tips to reduce waste at the source:
  1. Before recycling a broken object, try to repair it.
  2. Avoid over-packaged and individually packaged products.
  3. Buy second-hand goods when possible.
  4. To avoid wasting food, buy smaller amounts based on your needs.
  5. 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!
  6. Buy locally to decrease the time between production and delivery. The food will stay fresher longer!
  7. Freeze meals so they don’t spoil.
  8. Avoid buying plastic water bottles; instead, drink from water fountains or re-usable bottles.
  9. 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 such as Bureau en Gros, or your local ecocentre.
  10. Visit your ecocentre. You might find what you’re looking for! You can also drop off construction debris, wood, metal, appliances, and more!

Find more tips here.


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
– 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

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About the Author
Anne-Marie Gingras

A Communications Advisor with Cascades since 2011, Anne-Marie now also fulfills the position of Community Manager. She holds a BA in Public Communication from the Université Laval and a Certificate in Marketing from the Université de Trois-Rivières. As Community Manager, she is in constant contact with the public, sharing the company's newest innovations and reporting on its involvement within the communities it calls home. "I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work for a company that is responsible, respectful and transparent. It gives me a great sense of pride! Through social media, we are now able to interact with the population and we value this close contact. Cascades is an organization that encourages creativity and initiative, which allows us to develop in a very stimulating work environment."

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  2. Rachel Steward at 3:02 pm

    As soon as I started reading your article, I got inspired for an idea. I was thinking that repair and reaction is no to cure. Yes, our actions to go green is perfect, but what of others that do not take the same needed steps? There must be a core value that has to be changed in order to chain reaction the rest. We are already on the same page, so we see the green changes as simply something needed that we should do. Inspire someone’s change in one piece to have a domino effect on many actions. Finding this piece and how to change it is my resolution. Great post. I hope it encourages others to take similar steps.