• The Low Down

Compost is gold, not waste

The Editor,


I’m writing regarding Nick Appleby’s Letter to the Editor, “Whole waste management plan seems flawed” (The Low Down, Jan. 20 edition).


We think that compostable materials should not be referred to as “waste” and should be treated like gold. Composting is the key to regenerating the world's eroding topsoil as well as managing carbon level.


Chemical fertilizers and pesticides initially appeared to increase production yields, but in fact are destroying the soil. Deforestation and farming practices such as monocropping and tilling are additionally contributing to the desertification of the world’s topsoil and the release of carbon stored in the soil. According to Volkert Engelsmen, an activist with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, "We are losing 30 soccer fields of soil every minute, mostly due to intensive farming." At that rate we would have less than 55 harvests left! May we suggest watching the documentary called “Kiss the Ground” on Netflix for more information.


Composting is nature's way of regenerating soil. Everyone should be contributing to the solution by composting and diverting this gold from landfills. Municipal composting can process more items than in backyard composters such as bones, meat, seafood shells, soiled paper and cardboard, tree branches, etc., and will allow for the regeneration of community land.


This composting program aims to a) make it easy for those who don't compost to do so; b) offer additional composting services for those that have backyard composters, and c) facilitate collection from commerces such as restaurants and grocery stores. Carbon emissions to transport materials to Kazabazua for composting should be less than the current situation, which is to transport garbage to Lachute for landfill (with no composting).


Could there be some fine-tuning of the La Pêche municipal program? Sure. Let's find the right balance between making it easy for people to compost and excessive truck travel. For example, in Chelsea, garbage is only picked up every four weeks (thus the need for larger bins); recycling and compost alternate every two weeks.

But most of all, let's not lose focus of the goal — we all must compost in order to regenerate the world’s soil!


Rita Jain, on behalf of the La Pêche Coalition for a Green New Deal

Chelsea, QC