Agriculture

Completed project

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With several partners, CRE de Laval has carried out a valorization and transformation project of putrescible materials from Moisson Montréal, named Composting : From Earth to table, to compost for agricultural soils.

 

Moisson Montréal has been collecting and distributing foodstuffs to local community organizations for more than 30 years. In 2003, this food bank distributed between 60 and 80 tons of food items every day! Such a broad action scope generated inevitable waste, but most of it was organic waste, thus compostable…


In 2002, a pilot project was initiated to divert Moisson Montréal’s organic waste from landfills. This project was made possible by the collaboration between CRE de Laval, Moisson Montréal, CRE Montréal, Rosemont college and local farmers. 

 

Through this initiative, the organic waste generated by Moisson Montréal was directly transported to different farms where the waste was composted on site and used as soil amendment in the fields. 

 

This innovative environmental project was a great success: hundreds of tons of fruits and veggies were transformed into high quality compost, which was recognized as the most important valorization and organic waste transformation project in Canada. The project was awarded in 2003 for a ‘’Prix Phénix de l’environnement’’ under the category ‘’Mise en valeur des matières résiduelles’’ (‘Enhancing ’residual materials’’).

 

A project with multiple benefits

The side effects of the project were also very positive. By limiting the amount of waste buried in landfills, we reduce the amount of emitted methane, a greenhouse gas generated through the anaerobic decomposition of organic waste in landfills, and decrease the amounts and toxicity of leachate, the toxic liquid formed by rainwater trickling down the waste which can then dissipate into the environment if not managed properly. 

 

Transforming organic waste into compost directly at the field sites and then dispersing it as soil amendment allowed to enrich agricultural soils in a complete and natural way. Compost improves water retention and improves soil structure and texture by binding with minerals and making them more available. This also reduces the soil’s susceptibility to compaction. Adding compost also helps counteract the perpetual loss of topsoil due to wind and rain action. This ties the loop together; food waste returns to the fields, to improve food yields sustainably, while optimizing resource transportation. 

 

The project was also beneficial economically for Moisson Montréal as their waste management costs were also reduced. 

 

The end of the project

This project came to an end because of many reasons. A portion of the financing given to Moisson Montréal by the Quebec government ended. This organization was then unable to accomplish its main objective while participating in the composting project and remain economically viable. 

 

The city of Laval then started giving a portion of the leaves collected during the fall to farmers for them to compost. However, many non compostable items were found in the collected piles which damaged the farmers’ costly equipments. Farmers had to manage even more waste due to some of the citizens’ lack of diligence.

 

If a similar project was to launch again, CRE de Laval would emphasize on developing educational and awareness-raising campaigns. 

 

This inspiring project was unable to face the structural and situational challenges. Perhaps future projects will grow out of it...

 

Composting in Laval

Today, the City of Laval proceeds to organic waste collection using the familiar brown bins. The Environment and Ecocitizenship Service of the City of Laval (Service de l’environnement et de l’écocitoyenneté) confirmed us that the compost produced through this green waste collection is of very high quality. It is classified as A (BNQ 014-200/2016) which has no use restrictions. It can be used in agricultural fields, for handraising and gardening, etc. This compost in used locally through citizen compost sales, for plantation projects and community gardens and for public works (Source: City of Laval, April 2020).

 

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