This Earth Day, be green all year long!

Added: Wed, 03/29/2017 - 7:45pm
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By 2020, the Quebec government is requiring municipalities to eliminate
organic waste going into landfills – compostable materials like leaves, grass, household food scraps, etc. The MRC Pontiac and MRC-des-Collines, as well as the individual municipalities, have already been taking steps to conform to the
government's demand (see page 30).
In addition to doing their fair share to protect the environment by reducing the amount of waste they send to landfills, Pontiac residents now have an added
incentive to hop on board the 'green' train – money. By the year 2019, 50% of the
annual provincial waste disposal subsidy will be distributed based on each region's ability to reduce the amount of waste they generate through composting and recycling.
No longer will the funds be distributed based on population. This method is being phased out, starting this year where 80% of the fund will be awarded based on
population, with 20% reserved for those demonstrating green-friendly performance. The costs of not conforming to the government's target will eventually trickle down to individual taxpayers.
Luckily, composting and recycling is something each of us can do with little effort and minimal costs. Composting is as easy as collecting appropriate materials and
deciding which management method works best for you. According to one source, about 40% of residential waste is made up ofcompostable materials.
Living in a rural area gives many of us the advantage of being able to install
composters in our backyards, eliminating the need for door-to-door pick-up and its associated costs. For those who do not have a back yard, many municipalities have, or are in the process of, installing community composters at their transfer stations.
Although some residents may prefer to purchase special bins with lids for
composting, they are not necessary; compost piles are just as effective. 
For those who do not want to be burdened with transporting waste to the bin multiple times a day, small in-house bins are relatively inexpensive – they can even be made - and are effective at preventing smells and pests like fruit-flies. Another option is to place a larger pail with a lid outside – possibly at a back door - and empty it into the larger compost every couple of days.
Taking care of the compost is fairly easy and there is lots of information available
to get started - either online, in local newspapers (the MRC Pontiac expects to begin an article series in the spring), or by contacting the MRC Pontiac's Environmental Coordinator.
Recycling is even easier and requires few supplies, although some municipalities require special bins or bags.
There are so many good reasons to decrease our ecological footprint by
reducing the amount of waste we send to landfills either by processing it ourselves (composting) or directing it elsewhere (recycling). In many cases, the biggest and toughest challenge is simply changing our habits, but it’s one of the greenest things we can do.

Allyson Beauregard