The management of waste and recyclable materials in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine is under high pressure this year due to the marked increase in their volumes and the related expenses.
For their collection, including compost, Madelinots will have to pay $290 per residence this year, compared to $250 last year. The increase is 16%. And this increase will not be sufficient to cover all of the municipality's waste-related expenses: a budget deficit of more than one million dollars is expected at the end of the current year.
“This is the first year that we have had a shortfall of such magnitude, indicates the mayor of the Municipality of the Islands, Jonathan Lapierre. The cost of collection contracts is rising, salaries are rising, inflation is up 6% and there is a scarcity of labour. A set of expenses creates enormous financial pressure on tailings management.”
Then there are the increasing volumes of waste and recyclable materials, as well as the cost of exporting them to a sorting center in Victoriaville, which is necessary given the limited area of the archipelago. During the past year, the Municipality of the Islands shipped 4,287 tons of waste and 2,410 tons of recyclable materials outside its territory. This is an overall volume 15% higher than 2020 which translates to a total of 235 semi-trailer truck trips. These trucks must take the ferry before heading towards Victoriaville on the mainland; an odyssey of several hours!
“We have had a 27% increase in the number of entries to the ecocentre since the start of the pandemic, illustrates the mayor. It is a new challenge. These weekly inputs of construction materials to process cost us $300,000 more on our annual budget.”
The management of residual materials on the Islands monopolizes nearly a quarter of the municipal budget of $30 million. But, according to Jonathan Lapierre, “the problem is global”, hence a vast reflection initiated by the Quebec municipal world and the provincial government to find solutions.
At the same time, the Municipality of the Islands is itself updating its own analyzes of recent years on the innovative technologies that would allow it to reduce its exports to Victoriaville.
Faced with all this, Mayor Lapierre calls on the Madelinots to reduce their individual production of waste at the source, by adopting good consumption practices focused on reuse. “It is, first of all, the challenge of insularity, he underlines. The waste that costs us the least is the one that we do not produce.”