This week, the City of Ottawa’s Waste Management staff released an important report that will be moving forward to Environment Committee on Monday March 26th.
The report recommends changes to the City’s green bin program that would allow dog waste and thin plastic bags (to be used as liners) as acceptable materials in weekly green bin pickups starting in mid-2019, eliminating the need for special liner bags and reducing odour and pest concerns. This is good news for both dog owners and residents who may find their green bins regularly in need of cleaning from mold/insects.
The proposed program would cost an estimated $626,000 each year (or approximately $0.15/household/month). By comparison, a local retailer sells 80 litre green bin liners in a package of 10 for $6.43, and small food waste bags in a package of 10 for $5.83.
To address potential odour issues from accepting plastic bags, Orgaworld would invest $3.9 million to upgrade the plant for enhanced service and to improve odour control, and submit a mitigation plan to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the City. The City would also hire a third-party independent consultant to review the plan.
The Green Bin Program has diverted more than 533,000 tonnes of organic waste since 2010, and put it to use as compost and other beneficial products. Under the revised contract, Orgaworld would continue to provide 2,000 tonnes of AA compost each year. The product derived from the organic waste could also be used in fertilizers and soil enhancers and Orgaworld will be starting to look at how to use the plastic bags as fuel for kilns.
I would like to emphasize that although the proposed changes will allow residents to include plastic bags as containers in their green bin, the green bin is still not an encouraged alternative to dispose of all plastic bag waste.
This is a great step forward to help motivate residents to continue using their green bin to its fullest capacity without the “yuck” factor and divert organic waste from our landfills. As an aside, the Province is proposing to start banning organics in landfills in 2022.
City Council will consider the report at its meeting on Wednesday, March 28. The full report is now available on my website by clicking here.
I look forward to hearing residents’ thoughts on this report as it moves closer to its first hearing on March 26th. Please email me your support or concerns at Shad.Qadri@ottawa.ca
I will be sharing additional details on the report in my electronic newsletter as the item moves forward through Council and Committee.