Montreal, Canada,

Starting with efforts to mitigate single-use plastics, (and with the country already intending to ban it), the city of Montreal plans to ban the discarding of food and textile waste.

Montreal signed C40’s Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration last year ahead of the global climate action summit, which included 23 signatories, (including Copenhagen, Dubai, London, Milan, Montreal, New York City, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo and Washington, D.C., among others). C40 is a London-based nonprofit that aims to advance environmental and renewables policies through a network of global “megacities.”

Outlined in its newest plan, Montreal hopes to divert up to 70 percent of residual waste away from landfills by 2025 and 85 percent by 2030.

As for reducing the impact of its citizens, Montreal aims to reduce the amount of waste generated by each citizen by 10 percent by 2025 and 20 percent by 2030; showing more ambition than even its previous commitment outlined in the C40 declaration to reduce waste generated per citizen by 15 percent by 2030.

Earlier this year, Montreal announced it was working on a bylaw banning single-use items (plastics, polystyrene foam) by spring 2020. A month later, at a news conference, the Canadian government announced its plans to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021.

Perhaps the city is leading the push for environmental policy at a national level, or more appropriately — its citizens.

At the end of June, citizens and organizations of Montreal filed to obtain a public consultation on “eliminating food waste,” in order to “motivate the city to introduce measures based on best practices” with the goal to “eliminate food waste and the destruction of edible food by businesses, institutions and industry,” as the file indicates.

The best practices proposed for reducing food and or clothing and textile waste (e.g. unsold goods, production waste) would include regulatory changes and a new city action plan among other incentives that encourage donating and diverting waste.

Now that Montreal is more formally building its plan toward zero-waste with intent to progressively ban textile companies, grocery stores and other institutions from dumping their excess waste, other “megacities” involved in the C40 plan may be next to look to banning textile and food waste.

With any waste-reduction measures, there are initial costs, but the city of Montreal estimates millions in operational costs savings in waste management. A public consultation is to be held.

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