To find out about the schedule of recyclable materials removal, check out the Residual materials page.

The Story of the 3 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle

The 3R principle is an efficient way to protect the environment and reduce the quantity of household refuse to be transported to landfill sites. This involves:

Reducing, in other words, finding means to reduce the quantity of garbage:

  • Do more bulk-buying;
  • Use cotton shopping bags to replace plastic bags;
  • Choose recyclable packing material, or material that has already been recycled;
  • Use long-lasting packaging in lunch boxes (thermos for juice or milk, plastic containers for sandwiches and dessert, etc.).

Reusing, i.e. repair a broken article or put it to another use:

  • Repair rather than buy new;
  • Use empty plastic containers (margarine, yogurt…) for storing leftover food or other things;
  • Keep plastic bags for use as garbage bags;
  • Give unwanted clothes, toys, books, or furniture to a community organization;
  • Keep wrapping paper, string, elastic bands, and wire ties to be used again.

Recycle, reduce the consumption of natural resources - from forests, mines and petroleum - and the pollution caused by factories and by garbage disposal:

Did you know that…

By recycling, residents can reduce the quantity of household garbage by over 50%. Here are the main advantages of recycling:


  • Each ton of recycled paper avoids 15 to 20 trees being cut! That is important when we remember that more trees are cut in Canada than anywhere else in the world.
  • Making paper from secondary fibres (recycled) causes less pollution than using virgin fibres.
  • Kept separate, fine quality paper may be recycled up to seven times.
  • Newspapers make up approximately 30% of the contents of a typical Quebec dustbin.
  • Recycling allows a 23% to 74% reduction in energy use, a 58% reduction in water use, cuts air pollution by 74% and water pollution by 35%.


  • Aluminium may be re-melted as many times as you wish without changing its quality.
  • By recycling cans, water pollution is reduced by 97%, air pollution by 95%, and 90% to 97% less energy is used than when aluminium is first produced from bauxite.
  • By recycling aluminium cans, enough electricity may be saved to supply 15,000 Canadian homes with all their energy needs for a year.
  • Producing steel from recycled material causes less pollution than using primary materials.
  • Almost 50% of material used in the production of steel comes from recycled scrap.

Plastic and Glass2

  • Recycling plastic avoids it being tipped into landfill where it will take thousands of years to decompose.
  • Recycled glass is used in the manufacture of containers and bottles. Crushed glass is also used for sandblasting when cleaning bridges.
  • Producing glass from recycled material causes less pollution than using primary materials.
  • Unfortunately, each year, Quebeckers throw away 270,000 tons of glass in municipal and commercial refuse.
  • Glass can be recycled for ever, and it allows energy consumption to be reduced by between 4% and 32%, water consumption by 50%, air pollution by 20%, and there is 80% less mine tailings!

  1. ROBERT, Louis et allii, La Bande d'ordures en action !, guide d'organisation pour une gestion écologique des déchets-ressources en milieu scolaire, 2e édition ENJEU et Environnement JEUnesse, Montréal, 1996, p.88, 89. 

  2. Ibid, p. 104, 127