Ottawa Green Bins A Waste For Waste

Today the City of Ottawa began green bin collection of compostable household waste. This green bin now compliments the blue bin and black bin in my garage, as well as the (currently green) trash bin I use.

But the logic of this program fails me. Here’s an example.

The current black box program takes many things. It takes magazines (which are paper), newspapers (which are paper), shredded paper (which is surprisingly … paper), fine paper (guess what this is made of?), and books (which other than an Amazon Kindle is more paper), boxboard (which is the thicker paper your cereal boxes and other items are made of), gift wrapping paper (again more paper) and finally, egg cartons (which are a thicker version of newsprint paper).

The black box is ALSO for unsoiled pizza boxes which is a form of thicker (often corrugated) paper.

The new green bin program now accepts soiled pizza boxes. Ergo it can process cardboard. Ergo it can process paper. Ergo it can process EVERYTHING that the black box program accepts.

So why the heck didn’t they just have the black bin program accept the stuff we can compost on top of what it already takes? (or why not just have the green bin take the black bin products too and eliminate the black bin altogether?)

The lunacy of it all amazes me. The new green bin program is costing us about $90 per ton tipping fees to the company that was signed up to do this for 20 more years. The old tipping fees for standard trash were under $40 per ton. That’s getting officially screwed.

All I need now is a brown bin (for my dog waste), an orange bin (for my fall leaves), a red bin (for my meat scraps) and I can put a rainbow of trash out every week. Simply lovely.

9 thoughts on “Ottawa Green Bins A Waste For Waste

  • January 4, 2010 at 9:19 pm
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    It is worse then you imagine, this tall thin excuse for a bin is being justified as a way to avoid a new land fill for a full whopping 7 years.
    So you are paying 18 million dollars a year, on a signed contract of twenty years which guarantees of amount of compostable material to process or the city will compensate. a buy back any of the compost that the processor can’t sell at a price that hasn’t been released to the public yet.
    All this so the City can play Scarlet O’Hara and delay dealing with the landfill problem for seven years.
    Sweet Ya?

  • January 4, 2010 at 9:34 pm
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    I have to wonder if in the end, it would be cheaper or more efficient for everyone to put everything in the same bin and then have a warehouse sort it into however many piles the city wants to put it in.

    Or just burn it – is plasma gasification ready for prime time yet?

  • January 4, 2010 at 9:39 pm
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    We have blue bags(cans,plastics,glass), and the standard black bag(real garbage like table scraps), then the clear/orange bag for garden waste, then we put our cardboard/paper out in cardboard boxes. The blue bags and paper get sorted at the recycle station, the black garbage goes to create ethanol gas (in 2010), the clear gets composted, it’s easy…HA!

    Problem is that we now get two heavy garbage trucks down our back alley, doubling the wear and tear on our roads. Only costs us about $27 a month.

  • January 5, 2010 at 12:24 am
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    When Toronto spoke of our Green/Blue Bins on wheels I had wondered what the hell they were thinking,most homes in my area have narrow streets with City-Run Permit Parking to maker the Street even narrower.
    Toronto couldn’t even plow the Streets on time which made a mess for the normal Garbage pick-up since the large Diesel-spewing Trucks blocked the way and snow mounts between parked Cars blocked access to garbage cans.
    The first mini-Blue box was a farce because when the cold weather made them crack into pieces, I discovered that the City posted a notice not to include the box in the ReCycling program since it isn’t Recyclable materials.
    Oh great,they focus on little Pop cans and plastic kitchen bottles while the Box was big and they handed out large amounts of them to one day end up in land-fill sites.

    These Green job are Union jobs , they merely increase the employee base to pay into pension plans and benefits similar to a pyramid scam that needs more contributors as it grows.
    Don’t fall for the Traffic-Light ECO-warriors,they are Green and too Yellow to admit they are RED.

  • January 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm
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    I am all for preserving the environment.. and I am all for embracing the green bin. But this has not been thought out properly.
    Like.. NOT. AT. ALL.

    The program not taking plastic bags in my major issue, and the diaper thing too. There is so much more– but these are my primary concerns. Especially when I think about the dog crap I am going to have to put.. somewhere.. but not likely inside with my foodwaste. The people who finalized this program clearly only have hamsters and cats–not dogs– because no one wants to scoop up dog crap– and put it in all to collect in one giant brown bag in your backyard or garage. The summer will be a nightmare.

    The government will inevitably use several more $$ to re-configure the program when enough people ignore the complicated and contradicting guidelines. Maybe this was the plan all along. Keep people employed.

    I think Toronto actually has it right– throw everything in there (easy for people to embrace)– they spin out the plastic bags, and diaper outers– and the waste gets sorted. Everyone uses the green bin because– it’s easy!

    I can tell you this though– that poor guy they hired this summer to go around neighbourhoods and explain the bin program (literally ring doorbells and offer an explanation)… that might have been the toughest job in Canada. The best part was the post-it notes he left front and centre on the doors where people weren’t home.

    Program= not thought out by any lateral thinkers.

  • January 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm
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    As a single mother, I went to a class about night feeding babies. I couldn’t believe how the couples were squabbling about who should get up for the midnight call. Now I can’t believe that Canadians are quibbling over composting bins. Here in the US we’re lucky if a recycler picks up paper, aluminum and glass. We pay them extra if we can find someone to do it at all. We’re on our own. Forget the food scraps, let alone the dog crap. Hell, tipping fees are cheap. It all gets landfilled in plastic bags. You are lucky to have local government that cares about climate change and rallies community efforts!

  • January 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm
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    Are you actually that daft? The black bin recycles paper. The green bin is for composting. It can accept paper (such as the bags and soiled boxes you mention). It is obviously better to recycle, but if the paper is contaminated composting is better than throwing it in the garbage.

  • February 1, 2010 at 1:28 am
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    Few comments….

    The City of Ottawa has signed a 20 year contract to compost ‘organic matter’ with a company that, a year or two ago, was convicted of dumping toxic sludge into an abandoned quarry next to their ‘composting warehouse’ in Southern Ontario.

    The location of the ‘composting warehouse’ this company picked in Ottawa? Right next to an abandoned quarry….

    And, this with a city that was caught – just a few short years ago – taking the stuff from blue and black boxes (yes, the extremely expensive recycling programme) and disposing of it in the city dump! Yes, they made the homeowners sort the garbage and ‘plastics’ and ‘paper’ and put them into separate bins (not allowed to use the bags the stores sell for recyclables – we got nasty notices for doing that), got a separate truck for garbage, a different one for the green bin, another for the black bin – and dumped ALL of them in the same plase: the city dump. There was an expose in the papers about it – the cost of recyclable materials went down, so they could not sell it, so they just tossed it into the city dump…

    But – it’s OK!

    The taxpayers still felt like they were saving the planet, as they sorted their garbage….

    This green bin thing is a farce!

    The city actually committed itself to supply more ‘compostable material’ per bin per pickup than the green bin can hold!!!

  • October 13, 2010 at 4:56 pm
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