Project type Grant amount Community
Pilot project $32,700 Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Montréal, QC

Montreal Zero Waste Challenge participants
ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT: Roxanne Comtois, representative of a Défi zéro déchet centre, Laure Caillot, specialist, Défi zéro déchet, and Claudette Therrien, representative of a Défi zéro déchet centre.

Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie is a densely populated central part of Montréal with nearly 140,000 residents. In 2016, 63 per cent of its household garbage ended up in a landfill, so the borough developed the Défi zéro déchet (Zero Waste Challenge) to reduce that number.

The program was inspired by the concept of zero waste, a movement that is gaining momentum in Quebec and other cities around the world, which focuses on five principles: 

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle 
  • Compost

This pilot project should: 

  • Reduce household waste by 30 to 50 per cent (i.e., reduce the waste per person, per year by 109 to 181 kg)
  • Reduce 16,390 tonnes in household waste per year at the district level, in the long term

People on a stage talking at the Zero Waste Challenge panel
ABOVE, LEFT TO RIGHT: Gabrielle Lamontagne-Hallé, Amélie Côté, Laure Caillot, Bchira Dhouib, Douglas Besson

Out of 569 applications, 50 households participated in the pilot between October 2018 and June 2019, and each one weighed its waste throughout the project. The organizers also recruited three professional zero-waste specialists, who worked closely with each household.

“Midway through the project, the volunteers had reduced their waste by 20 per cent on average—a remarkable outcome four months into the challenge,” states Marilou Deschênes, a Sustainable Development Research Officer of the borough.

“The Zero Waste Challenge, as small as it may seem, has enormous potential to turn Montréal into a sustainable city. The fact that the project was so popular shows that municipalities have a role to play in helping residents transition to a low-impact lifestyle.”

—Marilou Deschênes, Sustainable Development Research Officer, Communications Division, Borough of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie

Participants were offered support activities based on their needs, including telephone support, individual and group meetings, special thematic workshops and a private Facebook group. The public could access information about the participants on a website, along with their testimonies, goals and achievements.

The borough estimates that in its first edition, Défi zéro déchet will reduce the total household waste generated by 10 to 17 tonnes.

Overall, the goal of the challenge is to position borough citizens as leaders in reducing waste before it goes to landfills. The pilot aims to test an innovative solution that is replicable and inspires other communities. 

“During the challenge, I was able to enjoy workshops and the feeling that I was part of a community, with all the support that entails. …  My responsible consumption is my own contribution to the fight against climate change.”

Jean Gagnon Doré, Défi zéro déchet participant

Additional resources 

© 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities