Rural Council Reports:
Ottawa’s Green Bin Program smells foul before it
Ottawa’s Green Bin Program (GBP) is predicated
on the assumption that it will enable the city to comply with MOE's
requirement to increase its level of waste diversion from its current
35% range to 60% by 2010.
The city claims
that its costly program, (an aerobic process that the Composting Council
of Canada calculates will cost between $300 to $500 per throughput
tonne), is a step in the right direction because it will
improve diversion by a whopping 7%.
Many who are already doing home composting wonder how the city could
ever have hoped to achieve 60% diversion from landfills by rounding up
vegetable peelings and other "normal" compost materials
that they are already diverting from landfills by composting them in their own back yards
...only to see the city redirect this back-yard compost material through
an additional waste-collection bureaucracy.
Just think of the
carbon footprint created from all of the extra fuel consumed by the
fleet of Green Bin trucks performing this apparently nonsensical
"green-washing" exercise. It all represents
over-the-top social engineering that is as unaffordable to the taxpayers
as it is potentially harmful to the environment.
If we had merely followed common sense
and simple logic, both would have told us that the convoluted green bin
program should have been a non-starter.
Far better, if the
city had started with an inexpensive educational program to encourage
those urban, suburban and rural residents that are not already enjoying the
benefits of doing their own home vegetable waste composting, to join the
Thousands of Ottawa
homeowners are still happily using the old back-yard compost bins handed
out by the Region many years ago. We could achieve far more, at much
less cost, by simply expanding upon that superb 'green-direct' concept!
We should be using
back-yard composting to easily fulfill the first of the three Rs,
(of "Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse"). By simply
reducing --at source-- the organic waste going out to the curb,
we can reduce the costly municipal mismanagement of a
needless Green Bin Program. We can also reduce the associated
truck traffic noise, reduce the burning of fossil fuels,
reduce the tax dollars being spent on rapidly increasing hauling and
labour costs, and reduce the amount of organic waste that would
otherwise go to landfill.
Now that's 'waste
If we had merely
followed common sense and simple logic, both would have told us that the
convoluted green bin program should have been a non-starter. To
speculate as to how Ottawa Council got taxpayers locked into a 20-year contract
with a program that models the two-year failed experiment in
Toronto, (see links, below), defies comprehension.
wastes such as disposable diapers, hygiene products, meat waste and the
many other undesirable or toxic materials that really have no place in
composts should be converted into clean energy using any of the
several emerging Clean Energy From Waste technologies that are out
You don't create "landfill diversion" by creating a whole NEW waste
stream that includes offensive or toxic non-compost materials, such,
that by the time the city is finished with it, it could become so
contaminated with undesirable constituents that should never go into
composts, that there would not be a market for the material.
markets for this new product, it is destined to become yet another
super-costly waste stream addition to the, already, rejected tonnes of landfill-leachate-soaked sewage biosolids,
and similarly, the unmarketable blue box plastics that are both currently finding their way
--below the radar--- right back into the landfills.
Some would see
this as fitting the new growth industry model called "Feel-Good
Enviro-Pseudonomics", which is defined as bad environmental
science that is a form of social engineering designed to assuage our
guilt by pretending something good is being done for the environment,
when, in fact --while it may make some vested interests very wealthy--
it is both environmentally harmful and economically unsustainable. In
Here is a brief review of the, still unfolding, history of Toronto’s
sorry Green Bin Program:
Green bins: A
– The Star- July 04, 2009:
How tons of rotting garbage ended up in a gravel pit –The
Star- July 04, 2009:
Province steps in to fix Green Bin mess –The Star -
July 07, 2009:
Re: Orgaworld - in London,
Smelly London plant a
'black eye' for composting -Ottawa Sun - May 5, 2010
value, quality of life affected by stench
UPDATE: July 14, 2010-
of Orgaworld in London, Ontario:
Compostor raises a stink - London Free Press, July 14, 2010
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment is in the process of updating
the Waste Diversion Act of 2002. Minister John Gerretsen
invites Ontario residents to submit comments to the Environmental Bill
of Rights (EBR) Registry, before January 11, 2010, with their
suggestions on how to improve diversion of waste from landfills.
chance to have a say:
After we have
recycled and reused all we can from the waste stream, the only way we
will ever achieve close to total waste diversion from landfills is to
extract the high energy value out of what remains, leaving a small
amount of totally inert aggregate material that is useful for clean fill
scientifically-advanced point in our history, it would seem very timely
for our Ontario Government to apply newly available state of the art
technologies toward achieving the win-win scenario of deriving clean
energy from our waste, while simultaneously eliminating our primitive
If you feel this way, too, please write to the Minister!
City of Ottawa - Budget
deliberations - in January, 2010:
Ottawa's Green Bin Program
will be discussed during budget deliberations in January, 2010.
It is important that
you make your thoughts known to Council, regarding this
$300-Million-plus venture setting up in Ottawa, on a 20-year contract,
(after its 2-year failure record in Toronto)!
If you would like to comment on the green bin
program, or any other item in the draft budget, there are several ways
to do so. Please see the City of Ottawa website at
for more information.
On the City of Ottawa website, you are asked to send information to
While some think
wide open spaces as having unlimited landfill
capacity, environmentally conscious provinces like
Quebec are trending away from landfill proliferation
and are turning towards the European models, showing that clean
Energy-from-Waste practices are far more environmentally responsible
and can even be profitable.
Thus, 'Waste' should be thought of as
an energy resource that should not be wasted!
The National Post article, (below), points to the urgent need for
Canadians to manage their garbage using responsible Energy-from-Waste
processes, right here at home:
◙ The recycling conundrum: How your blue bin hurts the environment - N.
Reader discussion that followed - National Post
Energy from waste - Rural
From Mulch to Mess - Sue Sherring, Ottawa Sun -January 29 2011