Compost vs. Parking: when priorities collide

Organization: Compost Montreal

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4 days ago, I received a phone call that made me smack my forehead in frustration. It was Stephen McLeod calling from Compost Montreal to tell me that the service my family has been using for the last 6.5 years might have to shut shop as early as June 1, 2014!

Why? Because Montreal's notorious Turcot Interchange is coming down and the city needs a secure space to park all its roadworks equipment. Not a problem to dismiss-- roadworks are important too. The part that has me scratching my head is that we've ended up with a choice that looks like this:


Let me back up here and explain to you why Compost Montreal is so important to me. Well, there's this infographic that gives you a sense of the value of composting in general. But that's just part of the story.


You see the value of composting? Thanks to Compost Montreal, I can buy all that for $5 a week. And it makes me happy to support a social enterprise that rose to fill our city's need for responsible waste management and now employs 12 people.

I honestly can't think of anything else I could spend $5 on that would bring me the same level of satisfaction. And I've put my money where my mouth is. For all of 2013, our family made the choice to live on a single income so I could stay home with our son. Which meant that we cut out almost ALL discretionary spending. Including haircuts, new clothes, lattes and things that couldn't be found at the thrift store. But that $5 on our weekly budget for Compost Montreal? Just. Couldn't. Bring. Ourselves. To.Cut. It.

Between our food scraps and pine-based cat litter (we flush solid waste and compost the pee part), we produce a bin each week that comes to my mid-thigh. That's a lot. I already suffer the usual urban person's guilt over the amount of resources I consume and the waste it creates so my green Compost Montreal bin is a happy oasis in my day.

Compost Montreal has been running a pretty successful campaign via social media and City Councillor Craig Sauvé had this to share on Facebook:



I admit this response adds nuance to the whole compost v/s parking debate (at least for me). Still, less than 24 hours after Compost Montreal posted their petition, there are more than 1,350 signatures on it. And I've spoken to a CTV reporter about why this story is so important to me as a citizen and consumer.

Let me give you the soundbyte version: "I have no other choice."


If Compost Montreal stops picking up my green bin, I will have to put all my kilos of food scraps and cat litter in the trash. Which will further contribute to Montreal's already precarious landfill situation.

To me, shutting down compost to find truck parking is the equivalent of saying that since you"re moving into a smaller apartment, your fridge has to go. It feels like a decision that hasn't been fully considered.

So what do you think? Which would you choose? Compost? Or parking?

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