Quebec province is leading the way in organic waste management

By | 2015-10-20

Organic waste management in Quebec is lead by several laws and regulations that are now forcing cities and industries to improve practices. Since the establishment of the Law on Quality of the Environment (LQE) in 1972, Québec has gone through three  (3) waste management policies, two action plans on climate change and several measures to achieve initially an ultimate goal of zero landfilling or incineration of organic waste by 2020.

This sound and responsible management of organic waste inevitably entails costs and concerns. To help cities and industries, the government has set up a grant program (PTMOBC) that will generate $ 650 million in investment and reduce costs of collection and treatment infrastructures.

Some incentives like a landfill levy ($ 21.30/ton in 2014) and the potential loss of refund of this landfill levy in the case of cities not complying with the waste policy greatly help the transition towards sound management of organic waste.

For example, Quebec City could not recover its levy refund worth about $ 5 million per year if it decides not to develop its organic waste treatment infrastructures.

In September 2015, the government granted a delay of 3 years to cities and industries to commission their organic treatment facilities under the PTMOBC. The new deadline for commissioning the treatment plants is now to 31 December 2022.

This delay will allow for the establishment of a stronger supply chain and allow proper education of concerned citizens about the benefits of these investments.

Waste management policy performance figures

Objectives of the Action Plan 2011-2015

Results of mid-term (2012)

Reduce to 700 kg / year per capita residual waste

724 kg (3% improvement)

Recycle 70% of paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal

59% (no improvement)

Recycle 60% of the organic matter

25% residual putrescible (5% improvement)

Organic waste management and recycling in Quebec

Anaerobic digestion

Digesters (main configuration) In operation In planning
  • Sludge digesters (CSTR)
  • Gatineau, Châteauguay, Repentigny, Rosemère
  • Saint-Hilaire, Laprairie
  • Industrial digesters (UASB)
  • Tembec, Agropur, Bonduelle, ADM
  •  n/a
  • Digesters dairy / farm (UASB)
  • Dairy: La Vache à Maillotte, Blackburn, Le Détour, Port-Joli, Laiterie Charlevoix. Farms: Saint-Hilaire, Péloquin
  •  Lennoxville
  • SSO digesters (CSTR)
  • Saint-Hyacinthe, Rivière-Du-Loup
  • Montréal, Québec, Varennes, Longueuil, Beauharnois



Treatment capacity per year (t / year) Number of sites (active and planning) Distribution (%)
  • 0 – 5 000
  • 25
  • 50 %
  • 5 000 – 20 000
  • 14
  • 28 %
  • 20 000 – 50 000
  • 7
  • 14 %
  • 50 000 – 100 000
  • 4
  • 8 %

Sources : Recyc-Québec, MDDELCCVille de Québec