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Garbage management in the Latin Quarter: A restaurant owner calls for the creation of semi-buried and “smart” bins as is done in Europe

Garbage management in the Latin Quarter: A restaurant owner calls for the creation of semi-buried and “smart” bins as is done in Europe

In Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier travels mostly on the run, with his desk in his backpack, in search of fascinating subjects and people. He speaks to everyone and is interested in all walks of life in this urban register.

Can half-buried trash bins prevent illegal dumping and orphan bags littering the ground and making the neighborhood unsightly?

This is what Guillén Duchesne, owner of the Végo restaurant (formerly Commensal) on Saint-Denis Street in the Latin Quarter in Montreal, suggests, this tourist area with a high density of restaurants and residents.

I went for a walk with her near her work.

“At the neighboring headquarters of the Jeanne Mance Foundation, semi-buried bins have solved the problem. Residents will put their waste there whenever they want and it will no longer have a smell,” rejoices M.I Duchesne, who showed me the device she wanted to find elsewhere in her neighborhood.

These bins cover pits a few meters deep where the waste is kept cold.

Louis Philippe Messier

“Why doesn't the city use this simple system?” asks the restaurant owner who pays more than $1,000 a month to empty the “above ground” bins adjacent to her back porch once a week.

Two generations

Madame Duchesne, as a merchant, must pay for the collection of her own trash, but instead of locking it, like the others, she leaves it open so that the inhabitants can throw their trash into it instead of leaving it next to it…

Louis Philippe Messier

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In the alley leading to Emery Street, boxes are stacked like sardines, locked to prevent residents from putting their bags in them.

Two generations

This alley in the Latin Quarter with its locked boxes hanging like sardines is unfortunately typical…

Louis Philippe Messier

“For my part, I leave my boxes open, even if I am the one paying, otherwise people will leave their bags everywhere,” she says regretfully.

No more garbage day

In contrast to the “above ground” tanks we are accustomed to, which bake in the sun and emit odor, underground tanks are naturally cooled by geothermal energy.

Two generations

At this depth in the ground, the waste remains cold even in the height of summer, and the absence of light slows the decomposition process… which prevents odors.

Louis Philippe Messier

When these floor bins are equipped with a sensor that alerts you when it's time to empty them, trash day can disappear. This is actually the case almost everywhere in Amsterdam. Everyone will throw their bags whenever they want into a semi-buried container.

Waste is protected from insects. When it is full enough, the city is notified by an automatic signal emitted from the ferry. Then a truck comes to unload the waterproof bag.

There was no longer, then, the roaring iron-jawed truck fueled by men running, sweating and panting.

An idea develops

“I saw half-buried boxes in Porto (Portugal) in front of my hotel last fall and it was very impressive… because it prevents people from leaving their bags lying around for days between collections and avoids odors,” Michel says. Lavallee, owner of the bar L'Île Noire.

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Conteneurs Totem, a Quebec company, is proud to manufacture 100% semi-buried boxes right here in Sherbrooke:

“It's a more subtle technology than it first appears,” CEO Paul Ohmann told me.

“The secret is that the waterproof bag opens from the bottom thanks to a device, and thus it is emptied without having to turn it over. Thus the oldest waste falls first without its juice spilling onto the fresh waste above and without flowing to the top of the bag.

desire mI Will Duchesne and Mr. Lavallee be heard?