I hate waste. It makes me cringe, so putting garbage bags out for pick up is not something I do lightly. My mind travels with the garbage and goes to the landfill site, and it stays there, as does the garbage, well, forever. So, I try to put as little into garbage as possible.
With respect to the kitchen renovation, I’ve gotten lucky. The old cupboard doors and melamine cabinet boxes found new homes through my cabinetmaker. All the cupboard handles are being reused on our cabinets, I’ve saved the kitchen sink and faucet, as well as the countertop and box to reuse in our laundry room. Currently there is a very pretty — and very useless — vanity in there..but at least it looks good! Anyway, it will go (I see Craigslist in its future). As for the rest, as the walls came down, we separated the plaster, drywall and wood out and hauled it over to the Eco-Centre for recycling. In the end we couldn’t save the floor. There were too many years of wear and tear and too much patchwork needed, so it also went to the Eco-Centre. We pulled out a pristine piece of drywall which can be reused, while the mismatched potlights will go to the ReStore.
In the end we filled five heavy duty garbage bags for landfill. Not great, but not bad, considering what it could have been.
But here’s the thing: separating out the garbage and the recycling materials was time-consuming. I was fortunate in that there were three of us (my two sons and I) separating and loading the van with the materials while my husband and sister in-law took down the walls. It went at a good clip, but I can see the desire of being able to throw it all in a bin and have someone else take it away. It’s faster — but as I just found out, probably not cheaper. My contractor was telling me it costs about $800 to rent a dumpster or about $250 for him to take the debris to the dump in the back of his truck. But let’s face it: most people don’t have time or energy to haul the waste to the eco-centre and the kicker is, your contractor can’t do it on your behalf. That’s right, you, the homeowner, are the only one allowed to take your waste to the Eco-Centre. You must show proof that you live within the city limits. Further, you have a maximum of 12 cubic meters of recycling waste you are permitted to send to the recycling centre annually. Now, 12 cubic meters is a lot of stuff, but the point is, they obviously don’t want enterprising people to make a business out of recycling. My question is: why?
Montreal clearly doesn’t have the same waste pressures that Toronto had. They don’t have a Michigan telling them that their time for dumping garbage into their landfill is drawing to a close. Recycling is minimal, organic waste collection is non-existent, and there is no public campaign telling people to reduce, reuse and recycle. I know there is a NIMBY problem with finding a spot for a city composting plant, but it should be a no-brainer to solve: Montreal offers any nearby municipality the money to build one and tax-relief on its waste bill for the next, say, 10 years. In fact, I saw the perfect spot in Lachine for one….
Anyway, here are links to construction waste recycling depots in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa in case you have a project to tackle.
Toronto Recycling Depots (for construction waste)
Montreal Eco Centres (construction waste, e-waste, old clothes, etc.)
Ottawa (gently used construction items go to the ReStore, the rest needs to be taken to landfill sites around the city).
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