Frequently asked questions and answers on the organic waste collection

Frequently asked questions and answers on the organic waste collection

On this page, you'll find answers to frequently asked questions about organic waste collection.

If you can't find the answer to your question, please don't hesitate to contact Environment Management division at 450-672-4444 or at and they will follow up on the situation.

Questions d'ordre général

“Reclaiming organic waste” is the expression used for the environmentally responsible treatment processes used to turn organic waste into useful products. Organic waste is processed in two ways:

  • Composting, a process that converts organic matter into compost. Using compost reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
  • Biomethanation, a microbiological process that converts residual organic waste into biogas through fermentation under anaerobic (oxygen-free) conditions. The resulting biogas contains methane, which can be used as a source of energy.

Both processes prevent emission of the greenhouse gases produced by disposing organic waste in landfills. In Saint-Lambert, the organic waste collected will undergo biomethanation.

The organic waste collected in Saint-Lambert will be sent to a biomethanation plant. The biomethanation process generates two substances: gas and a digestate. The digestate does not take the form of conventional manure (organic potting soil) and is therefore not appropriate for residential use.

For more information, watch this video.

Far too much residual waste is still sent to landfill sites in Quebec every year, creating a major source of pollution. Yet most of these materials could be given a second life, thanks – among other things – to recycling and the reclamation of organic waste:

  • Recycling allows some materials to be used to make new products.
  • When organic materials are reclaimed through composting or biomethanation, they become fertilizing substances or a source of energy.

By focussing on recycling and organic waste collection, the Ville de Saint-Lambert hopes to contribute to the attainment of the objectives set in the Metropolitan Waste Management Plan, which aims to reduce the burial of waste to a minimum and thus decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the Québec Residual Materials Management Policy intends to ban organic waste disposal by the year 2020.

By putting each material into the right bin, you will be actively doing your part to achieve three important objectives of residual materials management: reclaiming food waste, reducing the volume of materials sent to landfill, and reducing the environmental problems associated with burying organic matter.

Moreover, municipalities are entitled to financial compensation based on their performance in terms of all the materials that are not buried in landfill sites.

Follow these simple steps to use the brown bin properly:

  1. Put your small kitchen container somewhere easy to reach and line the inside with newspaper. Affix the aide-mémoire sticker to the small container and the detailed aide-mémoire to your refrigerator for easy access to the information you need.
  2. Put your food scraps (raw or cooked), as well as soiled paper and cardboard, into the small kitchen container. Empty it regularly into your outdoor brown bin. If you have leftover meat, poultry, dairy products, or fish, keep them in your freezer until collection day so as to prevent odours.
    Keep your kitchen container clean by rinsing it out with a mild detergent or a water and vinegar mixture.
  3. It is important to put your outdoor brown bin curbside every week, even if it is not full, to prevent odours and other annoyances.

Consult the Organic waste page for materials accepted and materials refused for the organic waste collection. This table also appears on the magnetic aide-mémoire delivered with your kitchen container. We urge you to put it on your refrigerator so that you have all the information you need within easy reach.

No type of bag made of plastic or similar material may be used for organic waste collection. First, it is important to know that oxo-biodegradable bags cannot be composted. They break down into plastic micro-fragments and contaminate the organic matter extracted.

Compostable “plastic” bags designed for organic waste collection, including those with the “municipal programs” identifier, must not be used either, as they are not accepted at the treatment site used by the Ville de Saint-Lambert. These bags stretch in the machinery and cause breakage that is very expensive to repair.

To make it easier to clean your bin, we encourage you to wrap your materials in sheets of newspaper. If you prefer, you can use paper bags in your bins.

Dead leaves are not accepted in the brown bin because they no longer contain chlorophyll, which fuels biomethanation. You must therefore dispose of your dead leaves during green waste collections. For more information, visit the Green waste collection page.

Useful information

If you already do home composting, you can continue to do so! However, as certain materials are not accepted in your home composter, the brown bin can be used instead of your composter for these materials, or in the winter, when your composter is inaccessible or frozen.

Using the brown bin is a preferable option. Garburators consume electricity and a lot of water. Also, it is not advisable to throw cooking fats into your garburator as they are difficult to process and risk clogging the pipes.

Organic waste collection via your brown bin allows you to dispose of these fats. It also saves tonnes of materials from being sent to landfill sites, and allows a green energy, in the form of biogas, to be produced.

Yes, the special waste collections for Christmas trees, large household furniture items or garden residue will continue.

Please contact Environment Management Division at 450-466-3199 or à

It may happen that your bin is not emptied because you did not following some of the rules pertaining to organic waste collection. If so, a door hanger will be put on your bin telling you which by-law you have broken. For example, materials may have been overflowing from your bin or your bin may not have been positioned properly.

If this is not the case, the truck may not have passed yet. Remember that collection takes place between 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Lastly, if you followed all the rules and your bin was still forgotten, please contact Environment Management division at 450-672-4444 or at and they will follow up on the situation.

Brown bins belong to the municipality and are attached to your civic address. If you are moving, leave your bins for the new occupants.

Odours, maggots and flies, and bin maintenance

Please consult the section Tips and tricks section on the Organic waste page for several ideas on how to prevent odours, maggots and flies in your brown bin, and on ways to keep your bin clean.

If you have more organic waste than your bin can hold on a recurring basis, you can purchase a second brown bin from the municipality. Please contact Environment Management Division at 450 466-3199 or à for more details and to obtain a second bin.

When choosing the type of bin needed for its organic waste collection, the Ville de Saint-Lambert referred to best practices, similar municipalities that have already introduced organic waste collection, and demographic data on its population. The City also wanted to offer a third bin that would not be too cumbersome for citizens.

Approximately 45% of your household waste can be composted. You will thus have much less garbage to put in your garbage can once organic waste collection is implemented. We therefore invite you to obtain a smaller garbage can in order to make room for your brown bin. You might also consider sharing a bin with a neighbour.

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