Composting for a better environment

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Added: Wed, 03/14/2018 - 11:18pm
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Carl Hager
Rédacteur EN chef interim /
Interim Managing Editor

The MRC Pontiac recently revealed that number seven of its priorities for 2018 is to increase composting and recycling. The Municipality of Pontiac is moving ahead with a compost curbside pick-up program slated to be operational by June of 2019. The government of Québec is mandating these initiatives.
Many schemes have been proposed to save the planet from the ravages of climate change. Some of us living in the pristine rural geography of the Pontiac dismiss climate change concerns because we have it so good. One sure criticism of these composting plans is that we have other priorities to solve. So educational programs will be a necessity for a successful program launch.
Today it is known that waste disposal in landfill sites creates methane gas, which
helps create warmer air temperatures. So governments around the world are waking up to the challenge of dealing with the billions of pounds of waste we produce as citizen-consumers.
The motivation of governments is twofold. First is saving money. In places like China with its billion and half people, waste disposal is not academic; it is a question of survival. Waste is expensive. Filling landfill sites is not the
optimal solution.
Composting programs began by individuals doing their back yard initiatives. A simple container, turned over once in a while, and the addition of the red wiggler worm or other accelerators to hasten the process, has been found in many classrooms. Creating composted soil had the benefit of producing a material handy for the garden.
The second motivation is to handle the environment better, keep it clean, reduce the production of methane gas, and help prevent the onset of climate change. However, industrial style composting for urban areas is a work in progress, here as elsewhere. Japan incinerates waste because of lack of land and China is searching for technological innovations to transform waste into productive materials.
Our municipal governments are on the cusp of putting into operation composting plans. The municipalities will have to explain the benefits of their programs to the citizens who will be paying for them. How will our wastes be treated?
 Will the net cost of a curbside pick-up plan be cheaper than filling landfill sites? Will we see an environmental benefit? Will organics be included with green waste? Will people make sure they do not include plastics and glass that contaminate the composting process? Will flexibility be provided to allow people with good back yard compost bins to continue that for the good of their gardens, or will curbside deposits be mandatory?
Western society defines success by the evidence of conspicuous consumption. Surely our definition of well being will evolve into including a healthy planet earth too.