Greg Duncan


Notre landfill-Notre home

I suspect that individually and collectively we Off Islanders are contributing an increased volume of waste to landfills each winter as compared to during the summer months. I know that we do from our humble abode or Notre Home as Jean-Francois Lisee, the minister responsible for anglophones in the provincial cabinet and the QCGN (Quebec Community Groups Network), might have us call it this week.

C’mon admit it, you likely aren’t composting in cold weather are you? After all, it’s human nature to avoid and dislike the cold, so acts of tossing become easier than the effort of trekking, or schlepping, as it were. This old-fashioned and chilly winter means that snowshoes are almost required for a simple trip to the back garden or out to our blue and black bins that stand in constant upright attention like frozen driveway sentries.

I mention this because every time I put something organic and compostable in my big black bin, I feel guilty. In fact, I’ve noticed that our little family of two can fill our garbage bin in a week during winter, which is something that we find nearly impossible to do over the summer months. We do compost up until about January in most years, and then we’ll begin again as soon as we can get out back to the heap. Once we do, our local wild birds welcome this greatly as they just love to swoop in to peck and nibble at some fresh produce. It’s almost like they unite in a song of thanks, they are so joyful of our offerings and they are often joined by our local squirrels. With the temperature outside at minus-25.9 C this morning I made a special trek to our sleeping compost so that the critters could have some sustenance, and to ease my guilt.

There is no denying too that the holiday season brings with it an increase in household garbage. Yes, much of it can be recycled, but many things do end up in the black bin anyway. Again, with guilt, I’ll admit that the sorting is just not as stringent around here as it could or should be in the dark months. I also know that some things like dead batteries have made their way into the bin on occasion although I’m not taking the blame. Not me, no, never.

In our municipality, big garbage pickup (otherwise known as collectes des rebuts volumineux) happens on the third Monday of each month. Judging by the amount of large items roadside this week, it appears that many folks have either bought or were given new appliances and or furniture for Christmas. In summer, the pickers and scrap-haulers come by at early and regular intervals prior and take away almost all but the most unworthy of items. Not so this winter it seems, and I presume that stuff is going to the landfill.

Why is there a sudden winter onset of out with the old, and in with the new?

Do you become lackadaisical about recycling or do you quit composting during winter months? If so, have your rebuts become too volumineux?


  1. I trek it out to the compster all winter. You have to be tough. At the same time the husky dog in the other yard, who spends most of his time outdoors, comes to see me. So I reach over the fence and pet him for a few minutes.

    • By Greg Duncan

      Good stuff, Andy. Good for the environment, good for the critters, and good for the soul. I love those resilient and tough huskies!

  2. I too continue loading up my compost bin all through the winter, although I admit that right now I have to force/squish it down to get the bucket contents in there. One winter a few years ago, I filled a separate big garbage can with goodies that I added to the compost bin when there was room. The winter peelings take a lot of space.
    As Greg says, “You have to be tough.”

  3. Hi Greg

    I made a mistake. The dog is a St. Bernard but very loveable. In fact my daughter’s cat will stretch his arms under the fence to play with him.

    Hi Aj

    I recommend you get a second composter (if you have room in the yard). That way you can fill one while the other one is doing its job.



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