Frequently Asked Questions (commercial)
If your questions aren't answered by the Compost Montreal Terms of Service document that is sent to all clients, it is likely to be answered below. If not, feel free to contact us.
1: How often do you collect?
We collect weekly. When you become a client, we will tell you what day of the week we will come by, and an estimate of the time. (We will consider picking up twice a week depending on your circumstances and location.)
2. Are we in your collection zone?
This is our current collection zone. Please contact us even if your business, organization, or institution is not in this zone and we will add you to the waiting list. We consider expansion based on how many others around you are on the waiting list, volume of compost, and also availability of used vegetable oil for us to pick up.
3. Will you collect from a business like mine?
Probably! We have all kinds of clients, from very small volumes of organic waste to very high volumes. Some have loading docks, some have cold-rooms, and many are restaurants or cafés with a kitchen, a storage room, and access to the back alley. We also collect from high schools, CÉGEPs, universities, day cares, hospitals, hotels, and office buildings. If you want to make compost collection happen, we will be very happy to work with you to accommodate your needs.
4. Do you pick up compost in the wintertime?
We compost 52 weeks of the year, rain, shine, sleet, and ice.
5. Do you compost during the holidays?
Yes! Your collection day may change, so that our employees can take a much deserved break. We will inform you in advance about this schedule change, and send out reminders. This will happen no more than two times a year (Christmas & New Year's).
1. How much does the service cost?
Commercial collection prices vary. We charge between $0.18 and $0.33 per litre, depending on your volume. Depending on your location, we may charge a flat fee for the trip. (This is a great reasons to get your neighbouring businesses composting!)
2. What other costs are there?
You'll need to purchase a bin. The size depends on your volume. We have a wide range of capacities, from 4L to 360L. You'll also need to purchase our locally manufactured compostable bags from us here. We have bags for every size bin.
3. How do I figure out my volume (to get an estimate of weekly cost and bin size/cost)?
We recommend simply starting by setting your organic waste aside for a week or two and you will see how much you accumulate. You can also speak with us and discuss the frequency, volume, and nature of the meals/coffee you serve in your kitchen. Either way, the collection is totally scaleable. If we find we have over-estimated or under-estimated, we'll simply adjust by adding or removing bins.
4. Why do I have to pay for this? Other cities offer this service for free.
Compost Montreal is a private business, with employees who have rent to pay, food to buy, etc. Like all businesses, we generate income because of the service we provide, and use that income to continue to to provide this service, which requires paying employees, and maintaining our overhead. Although we have the interest of the public at the forefront of our decisions, we are not funded by the city or the government.
The City of Montreal anticipates offering free residential compost collection service by 2016. So far, we are unaware of plans to provide organic waste diversion solutions on a commercial or industrial level. You can check out our news, facebook, and twitter to read what we share about compost-related city news. We also maintain a list of compost education resources, which includes events in Montreal, and general information for the DIY composter. Feel free to let us know if you have anything to add!
5. How do I pay?
You can pay by cheque (monthly), payable to Compost Montreal Inc, sent to our office at 209A rue Maria, Montréal QC, H4C 2N9. The first week of the month you will receive a bill by email for the previous month's service. You have 30 days net to pay this invoice, after which it will be considered late.
1. How do I make sure that my bin doesn't smell?
If well-managed, bins won't smell. We very rarely hear from clients who have this problem. One reason is that we don't accept any animal products (meat, bones, dairy products, etc). If your bin is smelly, it is probably because the process of decomposition has already started in your bin! Here are some options to slow down that process:
No, aside from egg shells, we do not accept animal products of any kind in the compost. This includes red meat, chicken, fish, skin, bones, cheese, milk, yogurt, and ice cream. These items require a compost treatment method that is not available to us: primarily, it must be enclosed, and must reach high temperatures to eliminate pathogens that may be found in these items. (The Edmonton Waste Management Centre is a good example of a closed compost treatment facility.) Because our treatment site is 'open air,' any animal products would attract vermin, and the finished compost would not be safe to redistribute for use in gardens around the city.
For a complete list of what you can and can't put in our compost bins, check out this guide.
3. What about leftovers and table scraps?
We do accept table scraps, as long as there is no significant amount of meat, bones, dairy or inorganic material (straws, creamers, plastic wrap or cans) in these leftovers. Sauces (even cream sauces) and dressings are no problem. Please avoid an excess, which might attract vermin.
4. What if someone steals my bin?
First, bummer! Second, talk to us and we will work on a solution.
5. Can I use my own bags if they are biodegradable or oxo-degradable?
No, in fact these bags are not accepted in our compost. Our bags are made from a resin that is produced from corn, and as such, are completely compostable. Bags that are called 'oxo-degradable' or 'biodegradable' are made from petroleum products that have chemical additives that cause them to break down into smaller bits of plastic, not into small pieces of organic matter..
1. What do you do with the organic waste once you pick it up?
A few minutes from our office in Saint Henri is a medium-scale treatment site run by the Department of Parks and Horticulture. We bring the organic waste of our clients there, and it mixes with the leaves and branches that the city amasses as they maintain parks.
2. What becomes of the organic waste you've collected?
The 'wet' or 'green' organic material brought by Compost Montreal mixes with the 'dry' or 'brown' organic material of the city parks, and the result is agricultural grade compost. The treatment takes about a year and involves mixing, aerating, and aging the material. The result is a rich, natural, and local fertilizer that has been tested by the Ministère du Développement Durable, Environnement, Faune et Parcs and consistently qualifies as agricultural grade. This means that it can be used to safely and effectively grow new food, effectively reducing dependency on chemical fertilizers.
1. What if I don't need you to pick up my compost during a vacation period, or during the summer when we have a compost bin on our site?
Clients can suspend service for a minimum of 2 weeks, with at least 48 hour notice. When you let us know that you'd like to suspend your service, please let us know when you'd like us to start again.
2. What happens if we move?
If you move to a part of Montreal that we serve, we will be happy to simply update your address, and your service will continue as usual, although the collection day may change. Please give us a week's notice.
3. Can we collaborate?
Maybe! Please feel free to contact us to see if there is potential for us to grow together.
1. Can I bring my compost to you?
No, we only offer collection service, as the compost treatment site is closed to the public.