Better late than never.
About 11 years after it was first discussed and about nine years since the program was first piloted, the city officially rolled out its new green bin program yesterday, becoming the ninth region in Ontario to adopt a organic waste collection system.
“We’re a very cautious city,” said Coun. Peter Hume. “We don’t embrace change easily.”
Still, Hume, who introduced the idea to the city more than a decade ago, believes “the citizens of Ottawa will embrace the program with fervor.”
The green bin program, involves collecting residential organic waste and turning it into compost. Starting in River Ward yesterday and every day over the next 12 weeks, the city will deliver 240,000 green bins and smaller kitchen containers to all single-family homes, duplexes and apartments with as many as six units. Collection begins in the new year, at which time residents will be able to put their food scraps including dairy, meat, bones and oils, food-soiled paper, yard waste and more at the curb.
“We anticipate widespread participation when collection commences in the new year,” said Mayor Larry O’Brien.
According to Hume, about 45 per cent of the waste that currently ends up in the garbage is compostable.
The program will cost the city $17 million – which breaks down to $68 per household per year, or $1.30 per pickup – but it will save taxpayers money in the long run, said Hume.
While Ottawa “doesn’t have the challenges that Toronto faces with exporting
waste,” Hume said the program will allow the city to extend the life of its Trail Road landfill almost four-fold from 12 to 40 years.
The program also produces valuable compost and reduces greenhouse gases, said Rod Muir, waste diversion campaigner for the Sierra Club of Canada. “We endorse Green Bin Ottawa because of the program’s ability to reduce garbage in Ottawa landfills, create great compost, and help fight global warming by eliminating a major source of methane gas pollution.”