MONTREAL -- Montreal wants to stop stores from throwing out unsold edible food and useful clothing as part of its five-year plan to be zero-waste by 2030.

The measures announced today are aimed at cutting waste at its source and reducing the amount that ends up in landfills.

“Fifty-five per cent of what we, the City of Montreal, put into landfills is organic waste, food waste,” said Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, a Montreal city councillor.

“So, this is something that we are going to work with [and have] education campaigns to make sure that the citizens are also part of the solutions.”

The city notes it has two main objectives to achieve its zero-waste goal:

  • Divert 70 per cent waste away from landfills by 2025, with a goal of 85 per cent of by 2030;
  • Reduce the amount of municipal waste produced per capita by 10 per cent by 2025, and 20 per cent by 2030 – a reduction of 10 kg of waste per person, per year.

"By setting ambitious targets, our city is taking the necessary steps to make its ecological transition a reality," said Lavigne Lalonde.

Officials say they want to nip the problem in the bud by encouraging the biggest culprits – grocery stores – to partner up with community kitchens, food banks and other organizations.

The hope is that, rather than throwing the food out, it will go to those in the community who are most in need. Anything that cannot be donated would be composted.

Jean-Francois Belleau is the director of government relations at the Retail Council of Canada and said he hopes the city would use the retail council's members best practices when it comes to safely give and manipulate food.

"Nobody wants to throw food away, especially retailers," said Belleau. "Our members have been working closely with food banks across Quebec in various ways for more than two decades. These agreements ensure that unsold food find their way to the kitchen table of people in need."

Montreal will also move to ban clothing and textile companies from throwing out unsold clothes and instead encourage them to give unsold products to community organizations or introduce them into the circular economy so they can be reused.

Councillor Jean-Francois Parenteau says the city also hopes to encourage the Quebec government to allow used clothes to be used for stuffing. It's the last province to have rules in place forbidding it.

A public consultation will be held on the plan.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.