How I got the Khyber Pass restaurant to start recycling

Khyber Pass restaurant in Montreal

How I got the Khyber Pass restaurant in Montreal to start recycling

Last summer during a visit from my sister and brother-in-law, we decided to go to the Khyber Pass, a bring-your-own-wine Afghan restaurant, in Montreal. It’s a charming restaurant with great food (great vegetarian options too) and a cozy terrace in the back. One of the great aspects of dining-out in Montreal is that some restaurants have a bring-your-own-wine licence which encourages people to eat out more since you’re not spending a fortune on wine.


Thus, on this occasion, we did just that. We brought 2 bottles of wine and enjoyed a great meal. While discussing with the friendly waiter who had also lived in Victoria, BC (where my sister lived) we got got into great conversation about food and wine. At the end, he asked if I had finished eating and I made a comment like “Yah, you don’t compost leftovers do you?” to which he replied “No, we don’t even recycle wine bottles”.


There I was, Urban Green Girl, who was just told that her 2 wine bottles (completely empty) were going to be thrown into the garbage. He told me 2000 bottles were actually disposed of each week, simply because the owner didn’t want to bother with recycling.

Stunned, I was sure this was illegal. The next day, I called the city of Montreal to inquire on whether it was true that a restaurant, a bring-your-own-wine restaurant no less, was allowed to not recycle. I was instructed to call the Eco-quartier that took care of recycling programs for that area.

I called and explained the situtation and said I didn’t want to make a complaint but instead, help the owner start recycling. They told me about a campaign they had that would give 2 large recycling bins for free to the restaurant (normally a $200 value each) and even deliver them.

My sister and brother-in-law enjoying wine with our dinner


They took the restaurant’s info and contacted them to let them know about the program. About a month or so later, I got a call from Eco-quartier letting me know that they had, in fact, started recycling.

This brought a great amount of joy to me, to know that one person, could make a difference and reduce landfill waste by 2000 wine bottles per week.


Always give the benefit of the doubt. In this case, the owners were immigrants to Canada and not accustomed to the “importance” of recycling. So, it is important to try to work with them and let them know about services available. If the offer of help is refuted, then you escalate in which ever manner you can. Be creative!

Is it our job to do this? No! But if we don’t and it’s not mandatory by law to recycle (which is the case in Montreal unfortunately), then who will?

We need to fight for environmental protection until it becomes important enough that we can trust our elected officials to take care of it, but until then, FIGHT!

* BTW – In case you’re wondering, I carried the empty wine bottles home with me that night to recycle them

4 thoughts on “How I got the Khyber Pass restaurant to start recycling

  1. Here’s a crazy idea: if you don’t like the waste management practices at a bring-your-own-wine restaurant, then either inform them that you will not be attending it any longer or take the bottles home with you once you’re done. Either of these methods would be much more considerate than seeking out a means of using government force to impose your will on some immigrants who are less versed in holier-than-thou whitey environmental practices.

  2. Dear Geoff – Taking the wine bottles home is what a person can do in that instance, but it doesn’t change the system. Threatening them by not returning doesn’t teach them the solution to the issue. Considering the situation, I don’t think you could find someone more considerate, friendly or as understanding as I was. I was their to help (they saved money thanks to me btw) not complain. Judging by your tone, it sounds like you would have been unhappy no matter what I would have done. And lastly, recycling isn’t an issue of race, but as a way to preserve the planet. It’s in everyone’s interest, not just the “whites”. Thank you.

  3. HI! I am super impressed by the level of commitment that you put into helping this restaurant recycle! I usually just email the store/restaurant to complain, but i feel that the route you took is much more effective! will learn from you next time 🙂

  4. Wow thank you! But emailing is still good too! 🙂 Keep up the great work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *