Avalanche of garbage in Montreal

Avalanche d’ordures à Montréal

Taken at home during the pandemic, Montrealers have the opportunity to do the cleaning of their residence, renovate it… and then throw more waste than usual.

Wednesday, 3 June, 16 h, dozens of citizens wait in their car to enter at the écocentre de Saint-Michel drop off their construction debris and other bulk waste.

The queue extends well beyond the sign, of cardboard where it says ” more or less an hour [waiting] “. Several rebroussent way, discouraged.

It is a scene that is repeated every day for weeks, ” said one employee on the ground. “To move quickly, it is necessary to arrive an hour before the opening “, he says.

The numbers pick up in the streets also confirm that the containment has been synonymous with the great household.

In march and April, the amount of bulk waste and construction debris, picked on the pavements increased by more than 615 tons compared to last year, or about 15 %.

In some sectors, such as Saint-Léonard, Rosemont or Pierrefonds, increases in tonnages of 60 % and higher have been observed, according to data provided by the City of Montreal.

Citizens who are in line in the morning and in the evening in the ecocentres of the City of Montreal to go there to lay waste.


Montrealers confined also took advantage of their free time to gardening. The amount of green waste collected in April is three times higher than for the same month last year.

“We saw the same phenomena in all countries. It blew up behaviour home such as diy, renovation and gardening, ” explains the director of the Observatory for responsible consumption), Fabien Durif.

He recalls that with the grocery store, one of the sectors of trade which has continued to ride at full speed during the pandemic is the one from the hardware store.

“The bulky and construction debris, it is exponential. In some places, it has more than doubled, ” said Sylvain Boisvert, director of operations at Ricova, a company in the transportation of residual materials.

And this increase is not limited to Montreal, reported Bernard More, counselor of public affairs for the waste management company Matrec.

“In the Montérégie region I municipalities with increases of 100 %. People in containment have emptied their basements, their attics, their shed and they put it to the curb because several ecocentres have been closed. “

In Montreal, the ecocentres have remained open since the beginning of the pandemic, but on reduced hours. They are closed on Sunday to ” ensure the better protection of users and employees “, according to the City.

According to a municipal source, the current budget of the City does not extend the opening hours of the écocentre, which could be problematic with the approach of July 1st, and the season of the removals.

It is usually the time of year where the volume of bulky waste disposed is the highest.

More to the landfill

Unfortunately, leaving its residue on the street or at the eco-centre is not equivalent. At the eco-centre, since the different materials are separated, such as wood, gypsum, and metal, they may subsequently be recycled in the majority.

“On the street, the building materials, these materials are residual common, so it’s going to the dump,” recalls Karel Ménard of the Front commun québécois pour the ecological management of waste.

More consumption

Households in montreal have generated more waste of all classes being confined to the house. There is a trend in march, which slipped in April.

Although there has been a transfer of waste from the workplace to the home, there has also been an increase in consumption during the pandemic, ” notes the director of the Observatory for responsible consumption), Fabien Durif.

“Most consumers were anxious and perceived rarity, the more they had the impulses of consumerism. We have seen especially at the beginning of the month of march, before the restrictive measures, which has led to a lot of overstock, but also to waste “, he says.

The areas of Montreal where the production of waste has increased by over 15 % are all-off districts such as Outremont, Baie-d’urfé, Beaconsfield and Senneville, has found our Office of investigation.

“This is normal. The more that one is easy, the more one consumes, recalls Mr. Durif. We have noticed that the people who have made the most purchases from comfort were the most anxious. “

Bulky and residues of construction picked up on the street in Montreal, in tons

March 2019

  • 1523

March 2020

  • 1764

April 2019

  • 2572

April 2020

  • 2946
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