Green Bin Program [General]

2010 Jan 8
So here we are at the end of Week One of the Green Bin Program… any thoughts?

Are you using the program? What are your likes and dislikes… do you see it as a positive addition to your household routine, or is it a hassle?

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In the past, I haven’t composted in the wintertime… and have used my backyard composter only Spring thru Fall… from the moment I could get thru the snow to it, till I tossed out the Hallowe’en Pumpkin in early November. My backyard composter though went the way of the Dodo Bird when I moved to a much smaller property… it took up too much space in my postage stamp yard, produced more compost than I could handle, and all-in-all was ineffective for a one or two person household.

There are certainly elements to the new City of Ottawa Program that are attractive… in that it means everyone regardless of the size of their household will be able to participate... and I can now compost more items than I could in my backyard composter (cooking oils, meats, bones, popcorn bags, select paper products, wax paper, etc) … and because of that more items will be diverted from the landfill. And that is good for all of us (although I have many thoughts on garbage and recycling fees and how we seem now to be paying more for something that is supposed to be saving us money... Huh?)

Todate, we haven’t incorporated the Green Bin into our lives totally... "The Man" read thru the User’s Guide, and was turned off by some of the things that he read (storing garbage in one’s freezer in the summertime, particularly struck a blow against the program in his mind). So he is reluctant to get into collecting food items, the idea of rotting food in the garage definitely bothers him (I know technically the garbage had rotting food in it and was stored in the garage... but I just haven’t been able to get his mind around those items going into the green bin vs the trash as of yet). So far, I am only doing non-food items (except for tea bags and coffee filters) but I hope to ramp it up as he becomes more familiar with the green bin, and separating items. Honestly, I think that is the greatest impediment… he hates separating items… and this applies to all of the Recycling Program (Blue, Black & Green)… he sees that as work… he much preferred the days when one could toss everything into one bin under the sink.

If I have a complaint, it is about the inability to locate paper bag liners prior to Christmas… the City of Ottawa, should have ensured that when they rolled out this new program, that the supplies would be in the stores when people went looking for them, shortly after the delivery of the Green Bins. In the meantime, I have “made do” with a Grass Clipping Bag… had to cram it in a bit to fit, as it is too big, but based on what I’ve heard, the new custom fit bags are really really expensive… so I certainly can make do with the cheaper more available alternative (as far as I know they are acceptable and biodegradable… every home owner knows the little suckers love to rot in the middle of summertime before one can even get them to the curb… how many times I’ve had the bottom fall out of one filled with wet rotting grass clippings!)

Our first Green Bin collection day will be next week… I am intrigued to see the "launch" of the program (if not of the green bins off the back of the truck, lol). Don’t think that I’ll be hauling the bin out to the curb just yet though… there is hardly anything in it as of yet, and because we haven’t been doing food items, no smell. Believe I will wait it out a bit longer.

As an aside, did anyone read the Letters Section of the Ottawa Citizen this week regarding the Green Bin (Wednesday, January 6th)... I got a real chuckle out of the Letter written about how the Green Bin meant buying a lot of extra stuff looks like there could be something to the fact that the Green Bin will help the community economically... particularly the Construction Industry. LOL

2010 Jan 8
I adore the idea, but weap for the fact that it doesn't serve the majority of people who have no better option. They won't be expanding the program to serve appartments and other similar multi-tennant buildings for a few more years yet and we dont _have_ the ability to compost effectively.

Sorry, pet peeve from an apt. dwelling ecologist.

2010 Jan 8
I have not read the manual yet but I don't understand the part about putting stuff in the freezer - the your man is being pretty paranoid about rotting stuff in the garage - holy moly.

My main peeve is that that are charging us more for a program that supposedly saves money.

I'll use the green bin to its fullest potential (already am) but throughout most of the year the majority of my stuff will still be going into my backyard compost heap. I see no need to truck my compost to Kingston when I can do it all right here. If my compost heap were easier to get to in the winter I'd do that year round.

I have no plan to buy those little bag liners and honestly don't see the need for them. Just another thing to buy. We have made due without them for a long time. If the under-the-counter compost bin (currently an empty dishwasher powder bucket) gets too dirty we toss it in the dishwasher. Big deal. Mind you, I have used liner bags when I've had them on hand (e.g. empty sugar bags) and have found them slightly more convenient. But not that much so that I'd go buy something (thus making it less convenient).

I've read that there are problems with the compost freezing in the bins, because of the particular type of bin chosen. Nova Scotia has had a program like this for some 15 years and does not have this problem because the bins have grates in the bottom or something like that.

As for extra stuff - there are a few extra things I can put into this that I could not put into my back yard composter, so that is welcomed.

2010 Jan 8
The only issue I have with the program is they indicate that we should not use plastic bags of any kind to store the stuff in our small bin. If one looks at the paper bags, they are lined with plastic (bio-degradable) and cost an arm and a leg to pirchase. Maybe someone on the city staff has a "inside" on this one and has set policy to ensure we purchase the city approved bags! My in-laws in Pickering have been doing the Green Bin thing for almost 5 years now. They go to the local Cosco and buy the bio-degradable plastic bags (minus the paper containers) for a fraction of the cost that the City of Ottawa wants us to pay for the paper/plastic combo bags. But ..this is Ottawa and we have a City run buy a bunch of Monkeys. Don't forget to toss the Banana in the City approved Paper/Plastic bag combo !!


2010 Jan 8
JDK, the inside of the 'approved' bag is not made of plastic, but of cellulose. Many 'compostable' plastic bags are not actually biodegradable, and just 'compost' into smaller plastic bits. I agree with you that they should say what type of technology of bag is approved rather than just aiming us all at one vendor.

2010 Jan 8
Yes and Thanks Pete - I should have been more exact in my terms. The folks in GTA only use the Cellulose bags in the small bins. They actually fit better (you can form them over the bins instead of the paper/cellulose bags that do not fit the small bins). Who approved these bags here in Ottawa? With the money we pay for these workers and consultants, do you not think they would have looked at what other cities are doing... and at a cheaper cost to consumers and the enviroment that they are so worried about?


2010 Jan 8
Why do you (think you) need a liner?

2010 Jan 10
Zym - Personally I think that a lot of the issues that the Guide addresses were in an effort to be pro-active and circumvent many of the Questions and criticism that would have come if there had been no Guide. For example, there is a lot of info regarding smell, maggots and keeping animals away. Although all good points, I think they dedicated too much space to this in the Guide... to the point that it made light of some issues that the majority of people would not have even thought of on their own. Hence the aspect of putting items in one's freezer until collection day... which for "The Man" seemed gross... he has no intention of putting what he sees as "garbage" in his freezer. I think all the talk of flies, larva and maggots really bugged him (pun intended). Now he has this concept that the green bin is not only more work but more disgusting..... (ya unfounded fear, I know).

As for the garage, he absolutely hates it when it stinks... he works very hard at keeping it clean... and being a car buff means he doesn't want it smelling... the bags of grass clippings are therefore relegated to the backyard shed in summertime. Of course that won't work for year-round recycling... the whole point is to try and make the experience easy and part of one's routine.

As for the Liners / Bags that JDK and P-i-O referred to, again something being touted by the City. Supposedly to alleviate the concerns by Residents when it comes to "mess", smell and bugs. And ya, one has to wonder if there isn't a "kick back" involved based on the pricing... ridiculous.

I did read somewhere that the Garden Waste Bags were acceptable (although I can't seem to find that info now). It is indeed a much more economical solution... and one I might stick with long term. Based on what I've heard they do work well in keeping the interior of the bin clean, and helping to avoid that freezing & sticking issue that some folks have experienced in the first week.

And as for the trucking of the stuff to Kingston and Moose Creek, of course that is in the short-term until the Ottawa facility is open (end of January)... so not really that big of deal. The City didn't want to change their launch date from the beginning to January to something that folks wouldn't recall... so they found an alternative to fill the gap.

2010 Jan 10
Gang would think with all the money we pay City Staff and the number of so-called Consultants, I have a real problem with the selection of so-called approved bags. Please see the link to the accepted bags from Pickering.

A few more choices then what we are told to use. Is some one hands in the pie ?

One would suspect so. With all the high paid staff and consultants, why did they not look at what other cities are using? Real sad !!

Only in Ottawa

2010 Jan 10
"approved bags"?

Page 3 of the guide : "While it is not necessary, you may choose to use a liner in your green bin or kitchen container ..."

'nuff said ...

2010 Jan 10
i don't get what the big deal is about not being able to use any kind of compostable bag. using a bag is optional - not mandatory. you could use newspaper as a liner (greenbin ottawa even has instructions on how to fold it to contain the waste), a brown paper lunch bag (i buy 100 large flat bottom lunch bags for $1), or nothing at all. sure you have to clean out the bin once in a while - but that is the case with or without liners. i think people who have been composting for a long time know how to handle food scraps and hopefully it is just a learning curve for new people. i find choosing to not use your green bin and continuing to just throw out the waste with regular garbage is much more offensive. if you don't want to use it for food, there is nothing stopping you from using it for all the other waste it can take - especially kleenex at this time of year.

btw, i have used some of those plastic, compost bags and they are awful. they do not break down and i have to fish them out of my compost heap when i turn it over.

with the lid closed on the green bin, i have not smelled anything. opening it up smells much nicer than traditional garbage. i manage to compost on my tiny yard, so this is just an added bonus for winter time and for the stuff i don't put out in the yard.

2010 Jan 10
f&t why no tea bags or coffee filters? these can go in the bin.

2010 Jan 10
I like the green bin program, but I don't expect to wheeling my bin to the curb all that often. My wife and I are dedicated year-round composters - I keep a path shoveled to the compost bin all winter. We have a fairly big stainless steel stockpot (with tight-fitting lid!) for our kitchen compost container, so I don't have to make the trip out to the bin too often. We don't put animal products in the compost, but the amount of waste we generate in that department isn't very large - we aren't big meat eaters, and much of the meat/poultry/seafood we buy is boneless. We've been stockpiling green bin stuff (smelly stuff goes in a bag in the freezer, and stuff like used tissues into a paper bag) since we got our bin in November, and we still don't have enough accumulated to come anywhere close to filling the bin. I guess we'll have more in the summer, when we can add any yard waste that we don't want to compost. As for liners, we don't plan to use any... we'll improvise instead, with empty flour bags, cereal boxes, and the like.

2010 Jan 11
I would buy bags (Zym) for dog poo. Instead of using grocery bags, and tossing it in the garbage, I could use compostable ones and put it where it belongs in the compost.

2010 Jan 11
Love the idea in theory (other than trucking the waste to Kingston, even if temporary), but I can't help but think that the people who this program is aimed at (generally house dwellers) likely already compost their waste if they are the type to embrace such a program.

I have a feeling that people who are not already into composting won't undertake the extra hassle of saving scraps, emptying the green bin, cleaning it, putting it to the curb, etc. I suppose changing people's mentality sometimes takes a bit of a widespread cultural push.

2010 Jan 11
I'm excited to be able to put things like our dog's poop, waste cooking oils and fats, dryer lint, cardboard/paper covered with food, waxed paper cups and vacuum bags in the green bin that I haven't been able to put in our composter in the backyard or the recycling bins. People were resistant to recycling when it was introduced too, but now most people don't think about it.

Yes, it costs more than not doing it, but so does the process of finding and building a new landfill site (which we are hopefully putting off into the future quite a bit with this program), especially with the universal NIMBY attitude.

2010 Jan 11
Just to be clear... my opening comments were both a summary of how the City of Program is being advertised / presented to Residents... and some thoughts on my actual application.

Zym - I realize that liner bags of any sort are NOT REQUIRED... but they are being touted as a way to cut down on smell, bugs and the need to clean the Green Bin. I am currently using a Garden Waste Bag (crammed in) to line my Green Bin, because I want to keep the Bin as clean as possible... why make extra work cleaning it, if you can find a way not to? I have better things to do with my time. Consequently, I think a lot of folks are purchasing the liner bags for both the Green Bin and the Kitchen Bin for the same reason... but as yourself and JDK, HipFunkyFun and BDM have pointed out there are alternative products that are acceptable... be it wrapping food waste / wet waste in lunch bags, newspaper, papertowels, sugar bags, flour bags, etc. Like others have said the "offensive" part is that the City of Ottawa is only recommending one supplier... Bag to Earth = out of Napanee.

I double-checked my make-do solution with the Garden Waste Bag that I purchased at Canadian Tire in the Spring of 2008, and discovered that it too is made by Bag to Earth, and is fully compostable... and it is just a 2 layer kraft paper product, no cellulose lining. Bag to Earth, is but one supplier of such products, and most retailers carry a similar product, typically emblazed with their own Retail logo (ie Canadian Tire, Zellers, etc). I know that I paid a ton less for a package of those, than the new Food Waste Bags are being sold for... I was at Canadian Tire on the weekend, and there a whole wack of skids near the front door filled with these new REQUIRED items. A real rip-off, because like JDK has said, the Residents aren't getting the full picture that there are alternatives, or even competition in this marketplace. Talk about an offensive smell... I smell a rat! And some more Ottawa City do-do.

HipFunkyFun - I think that the reason that the City is so focussed on the paper liners, are to make sure that folks don't purchase the biodegradable plastic bags that you mentioned... because as yourself and P-i-O have mentioned they break down, but don't fully decompose... all one is left with is smaller plastic bits. I think a lot of folks don't know the difference between biodegradable and compostable.

As for tea bags and coffee filters... you misread my post, I said I WAS currently doing those non-mess items, in addition to the other non-food items. I am hoping to ramp up over time, and get "The Man" on board with other food items.

P-i-O and Mers - Like both of you, I am excited to see a program that will take on items that are organic that previously ended up in the trash (lol, wonder if this will put an end to all the dog poop debates out in the burbs).

That said, I have to say that I am not overly offended if someone doesn't use the Green Bin like I am when folks don't utilize the Blue Bin... organics in the landfill rot out pretty quickly, unlike glass, tin cans and plastics.

Hopefully though, like Trachino says it is just a matter of time and that soon it will be second nature to Ottawa Residents... I remember when the Recycling Programs were first launched in Kanata back in the early 1980s (first in the Ottawa area) in the beginning only a few folks on every block got on side... it grew over time as people saw their neighbours taking part. And now the City of Ottawa has the highest participation numbers in Canada when it comes to Recycling.

Which brings me to Mers point... overtime we will all be winners in that we won't be looking at another landfill site. And that is good for all of us AND the environment. :-)

2010 Jan 11
Dog poo is verboten, as it turns out

2010 Jan 12
Zym - To be honest I am not surprised... I was more surprised when I saw it on the orignal list along with Kitty Litter.

Kitty Litter, I think will be next to go, due to TPTB not thinking ahead... there are a lot of different types of cat litter made from a lot of different products (and I'm not sure they are all organic). The way it is now there is no determination on what is allowed and what isn't allowed in the Green Bin... just says Kitty Litter. Add to that the fact that many of today's cat litter is engineered to withhold water at a high degree... not good chemistry I would think when it comes to compost... thinking you want something that would be break down far easier and not clump into hard lumps.

Any bets on how long this one will remain?

2010 Jan 12
Yeah, my thoughts too. We use the white crystal litter which I cannot imagine is accepted. Of course, it is just basically silica which is a natural substance I believe - basically a type of sand. So maybe it is fine.

2010 Jan 12
Ok..on the same train of thought, and I have checked the listing of what is acceptable in the Green Bin but I am not sure where these guys would go?

Green Bin or Garbage ... the famous Dustbunnies !!!

2010 Jan 12
JDK - Oops double post there mate... Dust Bunnies would be covered under the entry for Dryer Lint - Floor Sweepings - Vacuum Bags & Content.

Here is one for ya...

Qtips (either wood sticks or cardboard, NOT Plastic)... Guessing they are ok as are other items that are made the same materials Cotton Balls - Soiled Cardboard - Toothpicks

2010 Jan 12
OPS ...thanks F&T ...big fingers win again !! I think I'll leave this dust bunny alone. He may work out as an excellent Watch Bunny!!

2010 Jan 12
Yay for dust bunnies!

2010 Jan 13
I got my green bin in the fall and I was PUMPED! It was such a great system in Halifax (ah, the good old days). I had it just full up with waste that my red wigglers couldn't eat (not with out a bigger worm bin...)

I used it from the day I got it and was stock piling the stuff that I couldn't fit it. Then the day came. Monday was the first collection day for my street.

I had put it out the night before and I woke up like a kid on compost Christmas day. And there it was, a little orange tag and a green bin still completely full of waste. On the tag was the single had written word "FROZEN".

Well, I cant say that was unexpected in the world's coldest capital city... anyway, I doubt that I will be taking this inside to thaw out, or chipping it out by hand.

Does anyone have any suggestions how to defrost my Green Bin?

Also, reports today say that the program isn’t getting enough waste for the city to meet its commitment to the operators. Well, if they want, I have about 50KGs sitting in my driveway. But no hurry, it isn’t going anywhere...

2010 Jan 13
Ian - quick question. Did you just put all your waste into the green bin or did you use any of the approved bags? My Green was full, and was emptied this morning. I did use the "approved bags" as well as a Pizza box. I would suspect that all the stuff in the bags were frozen. Just curious



2010 Jan 13
Buckets of hot water on the sides or partially inside could help, just enoug for it ot thaw. Presumably the block of icy compost could be put in a large bag and re-inserted into the green bin in a nice and accessible way.

2010 Jan 13
I expect it was refused not because it was frozen, but because the contents would not empty (because it was frozen). I'd bring it inside for a couple hours, and then take it back outside and dump it on the snow. Then I'd take a shovel, and break it up and repackage it in cardboard or paper bags to prevent freezing this time.

2010 Jan 18
We've been on this green bin program for at least 6 years and greeted it fairly warmly right from the start, being major backyard home veg. gardeners and generally frugal/waste not want not type people :) Pretty much within a few months we had a system figured out that suited our individual indoor kitchen configuration/outdoor access, and general needs. In the summer, there's no way around it though, without a liner, the large outdoor green bin WILL stink majorly, given Ottawa's horrendously relentless hot and humid summers.

I got tired of hosing the bin out after every weekly summer pickup within the first few months, and ever since then I've been pretty easily using these large paper leaf bags as liners that can be had for ~ .60 a piece at most Loblaws, Food Basics, Can Tire, Metro and Home Hardware stores all year round. I think you get 4-5 for $2.50-3.00, and in the winter, you only use these every other week, so the savings are even greater at ~30 cents. Weigh the cost of the bags, vs the cost of summer hose/large water usage and soap needed to really clean out the bin every week. You also have to let it dry before you can refill it, unless you want the stink to start again. Then there's the time & energy it takes and the gross factor: it's messy and awkward to manhandle the dirty bin as you scrub & spray it in the stinking heat of summer. Not to mention getting filthy spray back into your face as you aim the hose into the bottom of the bin!

In the winter, the leaf bags also make it alot easier to dump your compost and keep the bin from accumulating frozen undumped residue that will easily eat up the space in your bin as the weeks go on. Before using the leaf bag liners in Winter, we would have at least the bottom half or more of our frozen compost never emptied out, and so were overflowing or just couldn't dump all we needed to when the next pickup came along. Within the kitchen, we still do wrap up some of our messier, wetter compost garbage from time to time in old newspapers. This helps with leakage when we do put it outside into the paper lined green bin, since even the heavier paper leaf bags are not totally impermiable.

In terms of separating the garbage within the house, again, a learning curve. At first, we used 2 sep. regular garbage bins with normal kitchen saver type plastic liners. This was fine, but we found the 2nd small Rubbermaid kitchen garbage bin for the compost started to smell after a few days and we also noted that the small city supplied kitchen bin (beige now) just didn't work for our particular needs right from the start.

So we bought a cheapish metal foot pedal garbage can from Can. Tire. It looks nice, and it comes with an interior plastic bucket and handle for carting the compost out after a few days. We line it with the typical kitchen catcher white garbage bags and simply put them into the regular garbage when we are done emptying the contents into the green bin. The hinged lid on the metal garbage can also keeps the smells to a minimum, and the can comes in 2 sizes. We bought the med. size and we only have to dump it every 5-6 days, almost when it's time for the weekly green bin pickup anyway.

As for outdoor access, we happen to have a fairly accessible place to refill, store and roll out the bin in the summer- a bit more difficult in winter- but that's not a major problem so far. I can understand though, how this outdoor access can be a problem for some people who don't have a clear path to the curbside, can't shovel a path in the winter, or who don't want to store the composter on their front porch during the summer.

Since we've recv'd the new smaller bins, though, I'm not too impressed. The German made ones we originally recv'd when we started the program 6 years ago were larger, but lighter and sturdier, less tippy, MUCH, MUCH easier to close, and less fiddly when it came to cracking open the lid in the winter compared to this new bin with its ridiculously small, difficult locking system which also freezes shut all the time. (Now, we don't even bother locking the bin in the Winter since it's nearly impossible to open it, even if you were lucky enough to get it closed in the first place.)

Also, since we've started dumping the winter compost every 2 weeks now in this new, smaller green bin, we're almost to the top of the bin within a week and a bit, and though the paper leaf bag liner is a touch too large for the new bin- it still fits with a bit of curling up at the edges. But because of the smaller volume that this new bin holds, with winter biweekly pickup, it does require more physical compacting to get the lid shut, so I imagine people who put out more compost than we do will find the smaller bin won't work very well, in the end. Which is a shame.

Somebody was asleep at the wheel when they designed this fiddly, smallish bin. It's not terribly user friendly, but it's not awful either. It's just that the old bin was much easier and practical to use. BTW, we kept our old bin, even when the city was going around picking the old ones up. It was a quality made bin, and we use it to store ice melter salt in the winter and the overflow yard clippings in the summer- which of course, we have to cram/transfer into a separate designated yard waste bin on garbage days during the non-winter weather. Ah, the joys of living in Ottawa!

2010 Jan 18
Wow, thanks for the lengthy review Frugal.

I'm having a tough time imagining filling that bin in a week though! Wow! We maybe fill the little inside bin every 5 to 7 days. I don't even think we'll have the main bin to the curb before the snow is gone, but we shall see. Which will a good thing I guess because i just noticed yesterday that it seems to be frozen in place :-)

2010 Jan 18
Frugal - Thank you very very much for taking the time to post this... your personal experience of being on-board since the test program began, means that a lot of us will learn from your tribulations. Your TIPS are going to no doubt save a lot of people grief vs the learn-as-you-go approach.

This post tells me two things though

1- The Program works, and can be adapted to work for individuals.

2- The City of Ottawa in all "their wisdom" obviously doesn't listen to individuals that have be working with the Program... otherwise some of the basic things that you mentioned would have been worked out for this roll-out.

The last one isn't that much of a surprise.

Oh well, c'est la vie.

2010 Jan 19
Origami liner video

2010 Jan 22
'Oh Well, C’est la vie'

No offence F&T but this program will NEVER work, the City of Ottawa has blown a good thing once again, we will pay (Minimum) of 7 million dollars annually to Plasix to make up the shortfall for collection because they bumbulled this project up, we signed a 20 year contract, what were they thinking?

We need to pay attention to the next election, I implore everyone to become active, seek out the right person in your ward, we need new blood…

CBC of all networks discovered the discrepancy & I for one am tired of paying for these colossal mistakes, 37 million to Siemams, 53 day old bus strikes that DIDN’T accomplish anything, ridiculous consultant fees etc etc etc.


2010 Jan 22
Hey Terry,

"... the City of Ottawa has blown a good thing once again, we will pay (Minimum) of 7 million dollars annually to Plasix to make up the shortfall for collection because they bumbulled this project up, we signed a 20 year contract, what were they thinking?"

I'm interested in learing more about Plasix and the City of Ottawa.
A web seach turned up squat diddly.

Can you give any references ?


2010 Jan 22
Isn't it Orgaworld (or some equally creepy sounding name)?

2010 Jan 22
I like the bins cut my garbage to almost nothing. I have one question though. Who is going to buy the compost after it is processed. I talked to my farmer friend and he tells me that the stuff is going to have too high a nitrogen component to be useful on farmland in the long term. Farmers are being swayed not to purchase the stuff. Are there enough gardeners in Ottawa to use this stuff up? My councillor didn't seem to have an answer to my questions.

2010 Jan 22
What? The farmer find's it too high in nitrogen? Well, duh, it means you don't need to use as much artifical fertilizers.... I doubt severely it is too high in nitrogen on its own.

2010 Jan 22
Terry, I think you are confusing different waste collection programs. The company you are referring to is, I think Plasco, which is the company we have entered into an agreement with to burn ( Plasma Gasification ) our NON-COMPOSTABLE waste. If Plasco technology works as well as it's supposed to, the City does not really lose out due to the contract we signed. This is because the City is a partner (I believe) in the profits of the technology, for a certain period of time, so anything we can do ( such as get a full size plant up and going) will only help the city's bottom line, as they may eventually sell many of these plants all around the world. It bothers me when people make statements implying everyone in government are intrinsically incompetent, when they are themselves either constructing naive simplifications, or just plainly not understanding the complexity that can enter something as seemingly simple as waste collection and disposal for a city of 1 million people.

2010 Jan 22
Well I was able to find it just on the basic info that Terry provided, I GOOGLED - CBC Ottawa Green Bin - and went directly to the CBC article entitled Green Bin Program Struggles to Meet Target =

Mind you as Chimichimi suggested, there was a mix-up in the original post in regards to which Ottawa Contract (it is indeed Orgaworld).

Ken V - Based on what I've read (might have been the Green Box Guide) compost will be made available FREE to Ottawa Residents for home use. Haven't heard anything about Farms.

Jagash - Interesting comments about Organics vs Inorganics... I think that a compromise can be reached (and probably at a lot cheaper solution than what local Farmers are currently doing). But I do take that there are some issues when using compost as a main component (particularly when someone is using a product other than one they supervise the process / ingredients)

Wikipedia - Organic Fertilizer =

2010 Jan 22
Hmm... only 1 hour to make my rant look bad and unnecessary, good work F&T. My apologies to Terry for the rant. I will point out however that there is no indication (even from the CBC article) that we will not get good value from the contract. Maybe we will know 6 months, or 1 year into the contract how good the estimations were. I can however guarantee you, that a company will NOT build a 20 million dollar compost plant without long term contracts for usage.

2010 Jan 22
Food&Think I tried searching for info on the City of Ottawa website. Ironically for a city run program there is very little information on their own website. I did find an organigram explaining how the recycling program will work:

At the end of step 5 the result is compost for farmers crops. Maybe this is where the information is coming from? Unfortunately no other details are given - commercial farms or residential gardens? And how will it be distributed? The city itself doesn't seem to be providing much information.

2010 Jan 22
"It bothers me when people make statements implying everyone in government are intrinsically incompetent, when they are themselves either constructing naive simplifications"

Not to cause an arguement but my statement was based on a CBC television interview with Clive Doucette in which thye pointed out that the bins themselves are too small to reach their quota, a fact that left Mr. Doucette silent for 15 seconds before he said "I can't answer that"..

I'm sorry Pete, I certainly don't think that everyone in Gov't is incompetant but this City gov't is a joke, there are some good people in council, unfortunatly there are too many out for their own agenda & screw the repercussions. The green bin program in theory is a great idea but what about Apt dwellers or Condos why a user fee for something you have to use, I'm sorry but it stinks of incompetence.

2010 Jan 23
re: City government, I suspect that many residents will be voting to unseat the incumbents this time around. We're tired of the same old crowd bringing us down, and we want a city of which we can feel proud.

Alex Munter was a glimmer of hope during the last election; I was honestly flabbergasted at the results. Let's not screw it up this time!

2010 Jan 23

Alex Munter deserved a chance, the fact is that not enough people care about city politics which is a shame because we end up with a group of spoiled children that can't get along...

Just today, Alex Cullen is in a round about way blaming the media for the price of the Bus garage (projected cost was 51 Million & as of today has skyrocketed to 97 million)

The LRT project has tripled in cost & we haven't put a shovel in the ground which begs the question "Do we really need LRT?"

How many small business' have gone under because of an uncaring city council, Bank & Sommerset was closed for 2 years for nothing, the contractors on Preston St halted construction for a week so they could go hunting & the city said there was nothing they could do. Why is there (obviously)insignifigant penalties for being late on a project but NO incentives for finishing early?

We need to rid ourselves of the Clive Doucette's, Alex Cullen (Who I bet will drop out of the race for Mayor & run again in the Bay Ward), Peggy Feltmate, Jan Harder, just to name a few...


2010 Jan 23
That is pretty choice Fresh Foodie. I have to admit that it's hard to argue in favour of the current council members, but if you think that voting them out will solve our municipal problems I'm afraid you're likely in for a disappointment. Like our garbage problems (yes I agree Terry, it's not all rosy), the municipal problems are complex, but I like to blame the American Republicans. Back in the 90s, (possibly before) the Republicans in the senate and congress were angry that they could not get rid of Bill Clinton. They figured that at least part of the problem came from the fact that local politics, and the success of local politicians can affect how people vote state-wide, or country wide, and that far too many cities (for them), being urban centers, would vote more left-wing, than right wing. So they set about figuring out how to 'redistrict' areas so that the mix of left and right wing voters would work out to their benefit. I think there might even still be lawsuits going on over this as it was contentious at the time. Back to Canada.. we had Mike Harris in government in Ontario, and an unstoppable Liberal behemoth in the House. So, taking a page from the Republican playbook, the provincial Conservatives set about figuring out how to sway the balance of power in urban, and mostly Liberal areas. The answer, taken from American politics was Amalgamation. Bundle rural, more right wing voters into those nasty urban bastions of liberaldom and you could water down the effect of the left wing rhetoric. We (voters,politicians) were promised lower taxes, savings, more efficient government, free beer and sunshine for all. So now we're all amalgamated, taxes are higher, and EVERYONE is unhappy. Urban residents can't get policy they want enacted, rural residents feel powerless in the face of all those urban councillors, and EVERYONE votes in political blocks, that line up quite nicely along Liberal/Conservative lines. Amalgamation has quite effectively added an almost 'Party System' to municipal politics. I don't want to jinx Mayoral candidate Jim Watson, but rumour has it that he's trying to not just get himself elected, but a group of councilors who can work together to get things done. Will such a block of potentially efficient and cooperative people get elected. I have my doubts, but wish him luck.

I don't expect new people in council will solve this, and I don't think the result of the next municipal government will make you, or Terry, or myself feel very satisfied, or well governed. Call me a cynic...

2010 Jan 23
Hey, great analysis PiO - never thought of that!

2010 Jan 23
Great thoughts Pete, I too feel that we will remain disappointed with the 'New' city council but hopefully not as disappointed as I am now

I believe that Jim Watson is the front runner for Mayor, that's why I believe that Mr. Cullen will jump ship; he would rather be on Council than out of work. If you need a reason NOT to vote for Cullen just look at the way the Transit committee works, he spends tax dollars like its monopoly money, LRT triples in cost estimates & he shrugs it off, the new garage almost doubles in price & he says the media is at fault for a call for an audit, if everything is on the up & up than he should welcome the audit to clear this up. I worked in the Bay Ward for 20 years & I watched the area degrade year after year under Cullens watch...

I know that I'm not going to agree with every decision the city makes BUT I just want them to make a decision & stick to it, look at Lansdowne, the place is an eyesore & has been for 20 years. Whether you support it or not, its "private" industry creating long term full time jobs in a recession, that alone should justify its worth. If you play the 'single source' BS, where is the design competition for the 300 million dollar library, the 97 million dollar bus garage or the Congress Centre?

2010 Jan 23
I am building a strong desire to discuss these topics with you Terry, accompanied by copious amounts of fine pedigree alcohol (and perhaps some food to wash it down).

2010 Jan 23
I agree with Pete - no matter what happens, even if we get a wave of new faces on Council (which I doubt), we will continue to be hamstrung by the lingering effects of amalgamation... just another part of the sad legacy that the Mike Harris years have left us.

Terry names Clive Doucette as one of those who should be swept out, but Doucette has in fact been the most vocal proponent of reversing almagamation - pretty much a voice in the wilderness, it seems.

2010 Jan 24
Riddle Me This ??

Two contradicting points of view about the “success” of the Green Bin Program hinges on how much the bins are being used by the public… one side says the Bins are being under utilized… although widely distributed, most of them have not yet seen the light of day curbside (true in my case… although will definitely be putting it out next Recycling Day). These same folks are claiming that the Program is too costly, (in reference to Terry’s post above and the 20 year contract) not well thought out, and will in the end not work out.

On the other side, those who took part in the Test-Run say that the City clearly didn’t listen to what was learned… the official Green Bins for example are considerably smaller than the Test-Run Bins… and as such cannot accommodate the amount of compostable waste generated by those who whole heartedly embrace the Program (see Frugal's post above).

Which brings me to my issue… As I said earlier, we have been slow to ease into the Green Bin Program. For now only doing non-food items primarily… and I can see where if I was using the Bin correctly for EVERY item on the acceptable list, I might very well fill the thing BEFORE my two week pick-up. Especially so if I was one of the users who was double-bagging food scraps in the those small kitchen approved paper bags. So here is the riddle…

What do you do if your Green Bin is overflowing say at the end of week one in the cycle?

Is it acceptable to start bagging compostables in Yard Waste Bags, and then placing your Green Bin & Yard Waste Bag out at the curb on Recycling Day?

LOL… from what I can see on-line and in the City of Ottawa Collection Calendar… the answer appears to be…. (wait for it)… a big old whopping NO!

The Recycling Guys are ONLY supposed to pick up the Green Bins until Yard Waste kicks up again mid-April.

Now this is dumb… on one hand the City of Ottawa has said it is acceptable to put Yard Waste into the Green Bin, and it is ok to use Yard Waste Bags in the Green Bin… BUT evidently NOT ok to put Yard Waste Bags out with your Green Bin Compostables?

No folks… here is the City of Ottawa handy dandy solution… you should purchase a second Green Bin. As only Green Bins can be picked up on Recycling Day by these new specially designed trucks (Ok, can’t help myself but to ask… so what happens come April? Yard Waste and Green Bin Waste is picked up on the same days… destined for the same site, but what we’ll have two separate pick-ups? I doubt it… although truly nothing in Ottawa would surprise me).

Cost of a second Green Bin? That will set you back $ 35. Now I say, if I have the choice between buying a second Bin for $ 35 (not to mention the fact that I have to give up even more room in the garage… the garage already being overrun with a Black Bin (Cardboard), a Grey Bin (which we use for Newsprint), 2 Blue Bins (because one wasn’t enough… and it’s always good to have a back-up bin for when things get to overflow... ie Christmas, Summer BBQs etc) and now the honking huge Green Bin… plus an animal-proof garbage can… I can tell you this… “The Man” will never “buy-in” to the idea of a second Green Bin… just isn’t going to happen!

So folks, as much as I’d like to compost more during the wintertime… until I find out different that the City of Ottawa is indeed going to pick up my Yard Waste Bag and my Green Bin (December thru March) then there is a good chance that from time to time that some of my compostables are going to end up in the trash bin… but then again, I don’t see that as a huge environmental sin… at least they are organic and will be destined to rot somewhere… also not cost me another penny… and probably be gone faster from this earth than this short-sighted City Council et al.

As a City, voters wanted change in November 2006… we didn’t get change… we got Dollars and NO Sense… Jim Watson – Alex Munter… I don’t care who runs in the next election… at least these two guys have a track record of "listening" and knowing how to implement programs… give me back a mayor who actually has city vision longer than the next photo op! (end of rant).

2010 Jan 24

In doing research for the above on the City of Ottawa Green Bin page, I found the following:

Q: Can I use another type of “green” or “organic” bin other than the City-provided one?

A: Not for curbside collection. Please use the City of Ottawa green bin for curbside collection. The bins have been specially designed and tested for this program and are fitted for pick up by an automatic lifter on the collection vehicles.

Residents may choose to purchase any type of kitchen container to complement the (comment: although the container is free, the recent program costs before Council at budget do not support “free”, so I would not mention this), Ottawa-made kitchen container that comes with your green bin.

--- --- ---

As someone who has spent a fair amount of time in my life working in an industry where I wrote Operations Manuals... I am fairly certain that the COMMENT part of this above second paragraph was an ASIDE by the Writer that was included in the DRAFT at the time of DISCUSSION... and not meant to be transcribed into the official text.

Just another example of incompetence. Does no one see that this didn't make sense as written in the context of the sentence? Did no one proof read? Is there no Supervisor responsible for the "delivery" of this information over the Website.


2010 Jan 24
Food and Think: Your post reminded me the issue my husband had with a garbage collector last year. Garbage collector threatened my husband that he wouldn't pick up our garbage if we didn't change the garbage bin. So my husband contacted City of Ottawa and asked what kind of garbage bin we should use.
City of Ottawa officer replied my husband by email and she attached By-Law regarding the garbage bin regulation to defend the garbage collector.
However, my husband found the By-Law was "modified" by the city officer. She added some words that don't even exist in the original By-Law, so she could make my husband "wrong" and "shut up." According to the original By-Law, our garbage bin had no problem...
After we spoke with her superior and city council, City of Ottawa delivered a new garbage bin to our home as a "sorry gift." What a joke!
There were no explanation or apology for the "By-Law modification" done by the city officer.

Some of the City of Ottawa officers think they can modify "By-Law"!!!
Or, can they do that?

2010 Jan 24
I'm not happy the recycling people took the recycling, plus the brand new bin the recyclebables were in as well. It' wasn't blue, but they should apply some common sense when picking stuff up.

If you have the room compost organics yourself in the back yard. A good composter with lots of aeration and heat retention won't smell and you get something you can use for gardening too.

2010 Jan 24
We use clear yard bags for our plastic and metal recycling francis - find it far more convenient than a bin. At first a few years ago we had trouble with the garbage dude taking it by mistake, but that only seemed to happen once or twice before they clued in.

2010 Jan 24
F&T, I put out a yard bag with my overflowing green bin. The collector took it. And I am not surprised. I can't say enough about the collectors I have encountered for all programs (turning a blind eye on the fact my lids seem to be part of some perverse discus game). I have never had a problem in my many years. Hmmm, maybe THEY should run for council.

2010 Jan 24
I keep seeing comments about people filling their green bins in only one week... would someone please explain how you're generating that much "green" material in that short period of time? I just can't fathom it... I compost, but even if I diverted all my compost material to the green bin, and added all the other eligible material, there's no way I could fill a bin in a week, or even two or three weeks. Admittedly, there are only two of us in our household, but still... So, what are you folks filling those bins with? Pizza boxes? Kitty litter? Dinosaur bones? Enquiring minds want to know...

2010 Jan 24
Aisu Kurimu - Wacky story... nothing surprises me though.

Francis - That sucks... BUT of course the City would claim that it was because you were using a not approved container. :-(

Zym - Well that is a good thing... until your garbage dude goes on vacation or changes jobs.

HungryHungryHippo - I am hoping that that is the case... there will enough "common sense" to figure out that if there are Yard Bags out beside the Green Bin that they go together... BUT as per the City of Ottawa Website it says they ONLY pick-up Green Bins at this time of year. Which was the point of my post... they haven't thought things all the way thru.

Bdm - As I say, I haven't put my Green Bin out as of yet, and it isn't full. But I was reading thru the Website when I came across this RULE as to what is an isn't acceptable curbside for pick-up. My point was to show another example of where the RULES aren't necessarily in-tune with the reality of the Program (based here on Frugal's previous post).

I would think though that if residents used the Green Bin totally, as designed and without a backyard composter, that the dang thing "could" indeed fill up pretty fast. Especially if a household is disposing of things like Kitty Litter, Pizza Boxes, along with Food Scraps and Household Waste (Paper Towel, Kleenex, Popcorn Bags, Butcher Wrap, Vacuum Bags).

2010 Jan 24
I noticed that the green bin is made of recyclable plastic.

I can't wait till it gets to -30 degrees out so I can smash my green bin and put it in the plastic recyling bin ! (Except the metal axle of course; I do want to adhere to the plastic recycling program.)

2010 Jan 25
With the exception of those occasions when there is a bunch of yard waste to add, I think if someone's green bin is overflowing after only one week of collecting, then a lot of that volume has to be packaging. They should seriously consider how to cut back on that.

I hate to see so much negativity at the outset of the program... it doesn't bode well. I do believe that many people just can't be bothered to do what it takes to participate, so they're going out of their way to find fault with it, simply to justify their non-participation. For example, Randall Denley wrote a column saying that we should dump the green bin program, and instead send all of that waste to Plasco. Ah yes, the silver bullet solution: turn your waste into nice, clean energy, no muss, no fuss, and best of all, no effort required on the part of Joe Resident. Yeah, sure. Between the green bin program and the deal with Plasco, I strongly suspect that it is the latter that is more likely to turn out to be a fiasco. Let's give the green bin program a fair chance, folks!

Last week the CBC ran an item that said, in part, that the city had a target of collecting 70 kg of green bin material a week, per household. 70 kg!! When I heard that, my jaw dropped - I knew it couldn't be right. Sure enough, a few days layer, they issued a correction - the figure should be 7 kg, not 70. That's still a lot - I wouldn't generate that much in a normal week, even if I diverted all of my compost into the green bin. But I'm not typical, it seems, so maybe the target is realistic. I tried to find the source of that figure, but all I could find is that the overall target is 1500 tonnes/week. If you do the math (not the CBC way), that works out to an expectation of 214,286 households each generating that average of 7 kg per week. What participation rate does that require? I dunno - I can't find that figure, nor could I determine how many green bins have actually been distributed to date. But it sounds like a tall order to meet that target to me. Given all the negative comments, and the paltry turnout of green bins I saw in my area on the first collection day, it's hard to be optimistic. But I still think we should give it our best shot.

2010 Jan 25
I'll just echo everything bdm said - people need to give their heads a shake and get with the program.

I'll especially echo the part about the high targets - 7kg per week is insane. Back in the 80s we used to talk about "The 3 Rs", but somewhere along the way we've forgotten the first 2 of them.

And if you cannot, only then do you REUSE
And if you cannot, only then do you RECYCLE
And if you cannot, only then do you create garbaage

Recycling - and composting - is only slightly better than creating garbage. People need to REDUCE consumption. We need empty green and recycling bins, not full ones. People who brag about how full their bins are need to give their heads a shake. Yes, I see it a lot.

2010 Jan 25
BDM, I respectfully disagree with the statement:

"With the exception of those occasions when there is a bunch of yard waste to add, I think if someone's green bin is overflowing after only one week of collecting, then a lot of that volume has to be packaging. They should seriously consider how to cut back on that"

People with children, pets, wood burning fireplaces, etc. might find it very easy to meet not only the 7kg / week but fill the bin (on a bi-weekly basis), without unavoidable packaging. We have no problem filling the kitchen bin in 2 days with purely food scraps, my guess is each bucket weighs 2-3kg. That is 46L out of 80L. Through in tissues, fireplace ash, unavoidable packaging (egg cartons, toilet paper rolls) and 80L for a family of 5 is not out of reach. Unless of course you have teenage boys... :)

As for participation, here is a good link to a city document I found on google.

220,000 green bins in Phase 1. 350,000 by 2011.

I would be willing to bet dollars to donuts that our me-too council will follow other municipalities and switch to full-year weekly pick-up with bi-weekly garbage to "encourage" participation.

2010 Jan 25
The official list does not have toilet paper rolls

I put those in the black box.

We're a family of four and so far we're filling the under-the-counter bin about every week.

2010 Jan 25
Well I was at Giant Tiger yesterday and they actually have a pretty decent selection of bags for both the small and big bins at some competitive pricing. They have the City of Ottawa "approved bags" with both the paper and cellulose lining but also have 2 ply bags at 1/2 the price plus just the clear cellulose bags that is used in other cities. This bag actually fits the small bin and can wrap it around the top opening for ease of use. But I suspect the clowns that run this city will find a way to disallow these cheaper solutions.

2010 Jan 25
Thanks Food & Think and zymurgist for your feedback re: my post on our 6 year + experience with the Green Bin. I hope it helps some people out there adjust more quickly to the program, which though flawed, is definitely a step in the right direction.

On a similar note, I just wanted to mention that Wednesday Jan 27 at 2 AM TV Ontario or TVO will be airing (at a ridiculous time, though) a germane 2009 documentary called: "Garbage, The Revolution Starts at Home!" I tried to watch it online, but it wasn't available for full veiwing. Though, you'd think the City of Ottawa or CJOH would try to get a local screening going, since it's available free to educational groups. If you still have a VCR, (we do & it still works fine for timeshift programs) you could record it or TIVO/Rogers on Demand it if you can't watch it when it airs.

What little I saw of it in the trailer concerns a family of 4, with parents and 2 little kids, who have the mandate of saving ALL their outgoing garbage for I believe, 3 or 6 months. Can't remember which, but it was substantial, so they kept their car in the laneway and cleared out their garage and that's where all the garbage went during the experiment. I think they were located in Toronto or Vancouver (yes, I know what you're thinking: Those places!) However, the bottom line is, after a few weeks of watching the stuff pileup, they had to rethink and become somewhat more accountable for what was going into their own temporary "private landfill."

Regarding the paper yard leaf waste bags I mentioned in my first post, my hope is that the greedy grocery store & hardware chains that carry these bags don't twig on to the fact that people are starting to use these in place of the overpriced small bin liner bags and decide to bump up the price to meet a possible slightly higher demand, espc. as the city rolls out the bin program to the whole metro area. We find that the large leaf bags are still the best and most convenient way to manage our outdoor green bin, and have for years.

2010 Jan 25
Zym said:
"I'll just echo everything bdm said - people need to give their heads a shake and get with the program."

Well said, I'm so frustrated by the "it's too hard", "it's too expensive", "it's not perfect" complaints that I've been reading on the media websites. I think the city's biggest shortcoming in all of this was not doing a good enough job of communicating the benefits and why we've got this program. With all of the energy people are spending stewing about this admittedly imperfect program, they could be instead doing as you suggest and examining their own consumption habits.

As for toilet paper rolls, they are supposed to go in the black bin, but in the FAQ, it is suggested that one could use cardboard boxes or milk cartons to package scraps before putting them in the green bin. (Under "What do I line my containers with in the meantime?",

2010 Jan 25
Gee Zym, you had me 100% there, nodding my head in agreement, until I came to the part where you say composting "is only slightly better than creating garbage". Noooooooo! Composting is essential! The process of turning kitchen scraps and yard waste into crumbly, sweet-smelling "black gold" is nothing short of a miracle - we couldn't garden without it. If you eat a lot of fruit and veggies, which is definitely a good idea, then you will generate some waste - there's no getting around it. But if you turn it into compost, that's a far, far better thing than creating garbage. It's one area where "reduce" just isn't a good idea. Eating less meat and processed food, on the other hand...

Thanks to Hippo for digging up that info on the green bin program. According to those numbers, the city appears to be counting on a participation rate of close to 100%, along with that hefty average of 7 kg/household/week. Uh oh!

2010 Jan 25
My father is 82 years old and lives alone in NS and has been doing this for 12 or 15 years with zero issues or problems.

2010 Jan 25
I read a timely article in the Citizen this evening. Council is discussing bi-weekly garbage collection, commencing at the end of the current bargaining agreement (2012). I was looking for the link, but between dinner and putting the kids to bed, it has disappeared from

As for the toilet paper rolls, they take both soiled and unsoiled cardboard products. It is enough that I am participating, I am not sorting my washroom garbage post-disposal.

I am actually quite surprised at the reasonable numbers used in the study... it must have been done by interns :). The way I read it, in 2011 with 330,000 participants, they will need an average of 4.5kg / household. Even with a dismal 50% participation rate, that is an average of 9kg per household. If you assume refuse density is close to that of water, that is 9L or 1.5 of the under sink buckets a week. It doesn't seem unreasonable.

I actually weighed our deposit today (remember I have toddlers, so we have waste):
1/4 english muffin, 4 egg shells, 2 egg yolks, butt end of a celery bundle, carrot peelings, ~3tbs of sweet potato, 3 apple cores, 2 banana peels with a little mashed banana, peels from 3 clementines, assorted unidentifiable plate scrapings. It was 0.6kg (net of the liner). And this is a light day because we have Sunday and Wednesday prep days where we peel and chop as much as possible.

2010 Jan 25
I go through my washroom garbage can about every 2 weeks (as it fills) and separate plastics, cardboard tubes, my wife's "surprises", and so on. I worked for 2 years cleaning ditches and cleaning up at the landfill site so this is actually pretty clean stuff for me. People need to shake their heads - you produced it - you deal with it.

For one, any leftovers from my family's plates bar none, go into my gullet. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. I'll have it for lunch the next day before I'll put perfectly good food in my compost bin. The only exceptions are when they are sick.

2010 Jan 26
zyg... my 11 month old loves to smash his food together and strain it through his hair. If you send me a tupperware, I'll save it for you :)

And, FYI, don't cast stones. We have 3 cans in our washroom. One for acceptable green bin waste, one for blue/black box materials, and one for items that do not fall on any recycling list.

2010 Jan 26
Well done on 3 bins - if we had room in our washroom we'd do the same.

Sorry for the "you" - it was meant as the impersonal "one" which is a bit of a clumsy thing we have in English. But in hindsight it did come across as YOU.

As for leftovers - I'll eat just about anything that's been through my kids no matter what kind of state it is in. Even sometimes when they are sick, if it is something that I can re-boil or re-cook to kill the germs, I'll do it.

2010 Jan 26
Ew... been through them. ;)

We are lucky enough to have a small enough house that our one garbage in the kitchen works out just fine for us. It's about four steps from the bathroom to the kitchen garbage/compost. We also have a tiny bathroom which doesn't fit one, never mind three, containers.

2010 Jan 26
I think your calculations are off, hhh - the density of the material going into the green bin is nowhere close to that of water. My container for kitchen scraps is a large stockpot, and it would be very difficult to lift if it were full of water, but it's pretty easy to heft when full to the brim with compostable scraps. Some of those scraps have a relatively low water content, and there are still lots of air spaces when you pile the stuff up. And much of the other eligible green bin material, like tissues and cardboard packaging, has even lower density, especially if you don't make a major effort to compress it. I'd be very surprised if the typical contents of green bins had a density of more than 50% of that of water... I bet it's closer to 25%. Picture that bag of yard waste you carried out to the curb last fall. Now picture carrying a container the same size, filled with water...

I'd be pleased to be proven wrong on this, but I remain convinced that the City is going to have a very tough time meeting its green bin targets.

2010 Jan 26
I use my massive muscles to compress all of my waste into small cube pellets to save space :)

2010 Jan 26
Some thoughts...

- garbage collection biweekly...could be way of making people use green bin?

- green bin takes most paper>>>what use for black bin?

- i don't care if people want to fill and use 10 green bins per week, who are we to criticize, judge or ostracise them...some of the threads above are starting to create green bin snobs.

- i watched our green bin "man" empty ours and I wonder how long the bins are going to last judging by how he violently bashed it against the truck to get the stuff out!

- would like to be offered some of the compost (for cash) seeing as we contributed to it

- we will probably only use the program in the winter and backyard one in the summer.

2010 Jan 26
The show "Garbage, The Revolution Starts at Home!" that frugal2387 mentioned further up this thread will be broadcast on TVO at 7:00 pm tonight. To quote their review: "What little I saw of it in the trailer concerns a family of 4, with parents and 2 little kids, who have the mandate of saving ALL their outgoing garbage for I believe, 3 or 6 months. Can't remember which, but it was substantial, so they kept their car in the laneway and cleared out their garage and that's where all the garbage went during the experiment. I think they were located in Toronto or Vancouver (yes, I know what you're thinking: Those places!) However, the bottom line is, after a few weeks of watching the stuff pileup, they had to rethink and become somewhat more accountable for what was going into their own temporary "private landfill." It discusses a timely topic and might be worth taking in.

2010 Jan 26
Thanks for the heads up Pasta! (A very fuzzy) TVO is one of the 2 or 3 channels we get so I'm going to sit down with the boys tonight and watch this.

2010 Jan 26
This continues to be an interesting discussion.

Captain C - LOL pretty sure you'd find out that that means "Recyclable somewhere else"... City of Ottawa recycles so few grades of plastics these days (vs a couple of years ago)... Pity.

JDK & Frugal - I am continuing to use a Yard Waste Bag to line my Green Bin... guessing like you are that "the clowns" will find a way to either make their unacceptable, or TPTB at Bag to Earth, will find a way to raise the prices across the board to be in line with their "exclusive" product approved by the City of Ottawa.

Mers - Agree the City spent too much time and effort on being proactive against problems, that they've done little to actually promote the benefits of this program.

BDM - LOL, thinking that the average person takes on a change in their habits little by little... and so I agree that Composting will an important part of that process. If everything was "outlawed" there would be a major revolt, and in the end nothing would get done (PROOF - Look at how now 20+ years later the Blue & Black Boxes are now a "normal" part of everyone's life). Were the first round of numbers for this program too high, too agressive.... only time will tell. (Although 7 Million Annually might be a hard lesson to learn).

HungryHungryHippo - Heard that about Garbage collection possibilities for the next contract... could be an incentive, but again it will all depend on how it is presented to Residents. Assume this means though that Garbage would go to once every 2 weeks, and Green Bin would be weekly thru the hot summer.

Spud Guy - Black Bin... will remain a requirement. Before the Paper Recycling, paper items took up the most space in the dump by category. And although the Green Bin will accept "some" paper items, IF one was to stop using the Black Box, then the Green Bin would quickly become overloaded with paper... which would change the chemistry and the ability to make compost... organics in large quantities are needed for the breakdown to work (think your own backyard composter). Agree on your other points... and yes who knew we had Green Bin Snobs and Garbage Nazis in our midst.

Zym - As already stated... "EW".
TM(p)I = TOO MUCH personal / private INFO.

2010 Jan 26
Some random notes...

Thanks for the heads-up on the garbage show on TVO - I'll be recording it (there's a hockey game tonight!).

Re the biweekly garbage pickup proposal, I'm sure that part of the thinking there is to give people a nudge towards making maximum use of their green bins, along with their black & blue boxes. Works for me, but it probably won't be a popular idea.

As F&T correctly points out, you don't want to overload the green bins with paper products, as that will have a negative impact on the composting process (too much carbon, not enough nitrogen). Basically, only paper items that are unsuitable for recycling should go into the green bin.

Lastly... so, people who generate massive amounts of waste are above criticism, provided they dump some of it in their green/blue/black bins? Sorry, I'm not buying it, and if that makes me a snob, so be it.

2010 Jan 26
I'm a snob with ya bdm! The best damned kind of snob there is - one who actually cares about the future of human life on this planet!

Things that affect us all are no longer just a matter of "personal choice"

2010 Jan 26
90 days
83 large bags of garbage and recycling.
Unfortunately they did not provide separate counts but in my books there is not much of a difference anyway, as mentioned above (and various reasons given for it in the movie)
320 lbs of compostable waste

and lots to think about, hopefully ...

2010 Jan 26
Spud guy: The other reason to keep using the black bin is that recycling paper saves between 40 and 60% of the energy of producing new paper. (According the the keeper of all facts, Wikipedia:

Pasta Lover: Thanks for the info! Wish I'd seen your post a few hours ago. :) Maybe I'll be able to catch a repeat of the program.

Happily a snob in yet another area: food, wine, beer, coffee and now, garbage.

2010 Jan 27
I am not a recycler at heart, I was like the original posters husband and "preferred the days when one could toss everything into one bin under the sink."

Things have changed for me. Sorting is not work it is more fun than before, I am lucky in that I have a garage to store piles of recycling, here is a breakdown of how we changed things in our household to make it easier on the person responsible for garbage (that's me)

We made a quick trip to Home Depot and purchased:

3 x Small Stacking Recycling Bins
3 x Large Stacking Recycling Bins

The small bins are used in the master bedroom of our house, placed on the second floor, this allows them to have convienent location for green bin items (non food related), carboard & plastics. A central location on each floor provides more opportunity for someone to recycle. Previously if there was no recycling bin on the second floor I wouldn't bother to make the trip down stairs to our single bin recycling station.

Efectivly pre-sorting everything for whoever is doing garbage, so one doesn't have to dig around in a single container and pick out cardboard or plastic from one another means the whole experience is quick and painless. I have also found that having one bin makes it more likely that it will become an alternative garbage container, and if it is not full will often just be dumped into the bag rather then sorted out.

The three large bins in the kitchen have replaced our one rubbermaid container of mix and match recycling. The three bins take up the same space as a rubbermaid container but have more function. Again, things are sorted into three catagories. Plastics, cardboard and Green bin Items (non food related)

We have not installed and will not install that miniture kitchen bin, it really seems pointless to have such a small container that fills up rather quickly in the busiest room in a house (the kitchen). As an alternative we have opted for using the odor free lined bags directly on the countertop. The benefit to using the bag on the countertop is that it can be opened and closed easier and is odor free, no more trying to open a cupboard door, to pop the latch on that little container and unfold the top of the bag (cause it doesn't fit properly) to throw out a piece of tomato.

Purchasing bags is more expensive but instead of buying them at Canadian Tire for 5.89 for 10 bags, I buy them in a 30 pack for 11.99 at Costco. I believe the large ones are 4.99 for 10 bags (please, correct me if I am wrong).

The odor free bags have a no leak liner in them, using them on the counter top is more effective and a chip clip, or large metal paper clip (Aligator clip) would work to keep it closed. Easy access, and more effective (IMO). The bag is then tossed into the green bin (with a large liner installed) and eliminates food leakage and smell.

The sorting process takes place once a week, the large bins are brought to the garage and dumped into their respective containers (blue, black or green bins). I don't even have to get my hands dirty.

I haven't figured out what I will do when summertime comes, maybe just keeping the bin closed in the garage will work, maybe I will have to resort to storing some garbage in my freezer. I can only say that for me the green bin has improved my recycling ability and interest. I have gone from 3/4 garbage bags a week, to 1 to 2 garbage bags a week and 1/2 full recycling containers, to using two containers a week.

2010 Jan 27
Oh boy...

Perhaps I was being a bit judgemental and the word "snob" should be replaced with "zealot". People need hobbies.

Black box - good point re: nitrogen and carbon. I'm still suspicious that recycling requires less energy than new paper. Isn't the intent to grow more trees? I read once that producing paper shopping bags requires more energy than the plastic ones...sure they are more "environmentally friendly" at the end of their life, but...

Putting garbage in the is that better for the environment? More energy and packaging is required.

Driving around town sourcing green bin is that good for the environment? Plus, now one is introducing a new item that needs to be produced (ie. paper liners) and all of the energy required to produce that item, etc., etc. There is a higher cost in taxes, liners etc., which mean people will need to work more to cover the costs, requiring more my mind, less work ($$$) requires less energy, better for the environment.

The green bin program wasn't introduced for environmental reasons, it was because of the cost of maintaining and building new! I get annoyed when I'm lied to.
My son came home from school last year stating his school is starting an environmental program and all lunch waste should be taken home, the reason "to help save the environment". It was to reduce the cost of garbage collection for the school board. I get annoyed when I'm lied to.

Having said all this, I'm all for recycling, but we have to question and follow the whole process to determine if it really is "environmentally friendly" or is it a feel good thing.

2010 Jan 27
Kudos Picky_Me!

As for spud_guy... I'm all for scepticism, but I like to see some facts behind it. You give lots of suppositions about why this is bad, or that is bad, but you offer no actual proof of the relative impacts of anything you criticize. It is very easy for you to come up with reasons not to participate in something that is supposed to be good in many ways. How about some concrete proposals from you outlining a better way, instead of just complaints and criticisms that the work everyone else has done is incompetent and unworthy. If I had a pie... I'd be having terrorist thought right now.. ;-)

2010 Jan 27
For those that missed the tv show last night the show has a website:

You can only watch the first 20 minutes of the show on the website but if you click on the "screenings" link they tell you when/where you can see it. (Nothing in Ottawa yet.)

The show definitely gave me a lot to think about. We all know about the three R's - reduce, reuse, recycle. I realized during the show that I am actually doing it in reverse order-;) I have been recycling for years, I am improving at reusing stuff, but I really need to work on reducing my waste.

Pete-in-Ottawa I understand tofu pies are called for-;)

2010 Jan 27
P-I-O...just asking questions, so I can learn...I've learned in life that questioning something always puts me in the firing lane, silly me!

2010 Jan 27
Well done Pasta. As I point out a few posts above - REDUCE is the first of the 3Rs because it is the first thing we need to do. It is by far the most important.


Notice how close "recycle" is to "garbage"? Not very far at all. It is not much better than garbage.

2010 Jan 27
We have a vermicomposter in the corner of our small kitchen. Its been a few years now and the thing doesn't smell and the worms are still alive, so we must be doing something right. I appreciated the little pail that came with the big green one. We use it instead of our plastic ice cream tub as it is nice to have one with a handle. Bags aren't used just the bin itself. If you empty it regularly cleaning it out isn't such a bad thing. Having vermicomposter is excellent incentive to eat more veggies. From time to time my sweetie will turn to me and say something like; Are you trying to kill them? They're starving. Do you not love the worms? We need to eat more veggies.

We shop for groceries with canvas bags and keep some plastics folded in pockets just in case, though sometimes we miss but its rare. Its a habit to carry backpacks and say no thanks to the bags when shopping in general. We utilize the big paper bags for leaves and add in plant trimmings from our small planter gardens (in season). We have the bulk foods store weigh our glass and plastic containers before refilling them. Try and stay away from over packaging as much as possible.

We have been averaging 1 paper and one can/plastic recycling container a month. In cold weather we don't bother putting our garbage can out till it is full and its about a month or so to fill depending on our activities. In warm weather we're one or two grocery store bags of garbage per pick up. Again depending on our activities.

As for the new bins, I can't imagine the stench of the green bins in summer but time will soon tell. I suppose we could use ours for overflow in case the worms can't handle everything. I haven't read about what the green containers can take, and I suppose it might divert some more of our garbage but enough is enough. I have no desire to further my garbagelogy knowledge. I know its not very politically correct but I do not really want to deal with any further separating or special garbage BS. Sorry. If I have my way, the new green guy will probably remain empty.

2010 Jan 27
Just one comment about Zym's hierarchy:


He says that the last two categories are actually pretty close, and I agree 100%. Sometimes recycling is really a sham, since the energy expenditure (and harmful byproducts, in some cases) involved does more harm than good. But I would posit that composting actually belongs in the Reuse category, at least in the case of the backyard variety, since there is little or no energy cost involved.

Reduce and Reuse should be our mantra.

Yes, I admit it - I am a composting zealot!

2010 Jan 27
Yeah, I was debating where to put composting

2010 Jan 27
I would argue that home composting at least is above reducing. Those compostable materiels tend to be ones that are worth consuming (fruits, veggies etc) and the waste, rather then being diverted to the waste stream is improving the home garden which gives practically something for nothing.

2010 Jan 27
Picky-Me - Thanks for your post... interesting to hear how you deal with your household waste. Good to get a variety of points and views (and home systems) so that readers can find something that works for themselves, as I don't believe there really is a one-size-fits-all solution.

Spud Guy - Of course "The Man" is howling at your comments... indeed he sees all this home processing (Garbage / Recycling / Composting) as "work"... Work that he believes we are "paying for" in our Taxes, but we actually have been conned into doing for ourselves. Huh?

And like you he is skeptical that we are being fed a line by TPTB about what is really happening with all these things we are quick to buy into... where exactly does all these seperated items end up... and how then are they handled? We are too much like a bunch of lemmings quick to believe all that we are told by our Government... a Government (at least at the Municipal level) who has a track record of selling us a bill-of-goods that are over-priced and ineffective.

He told me to relay the following to you:

This reminds him of an old fishing story... How some fish are eager to bite onto the hook as soon as it appears, while others (older fish I might add) are wary of such a hook, knowing that no matter how good the treat on the hook looks, there is something nasty unseen behind it.

Of course, I being a bit younger, and a bit more optimistic (naive?). Have a history of having bought into the Recycling Programs early on back in the 80s... and believe they do have benefits... and know that overtime the hold-outs too joined in (including "The Man" who I was able to convert recently). As I said earlier, old habits are hard to change, but slowly over time they can be. Which is guess why I am finding the "Bin Snobs" and "Garbage Zealots" are so offensive at this moment in time... they have to realize that change takes time, and if change is to be the most effective, then it has to be realized that preaching one's point of view too agressively can backfire overall (turning someone who is willing to hear different points of views, off totally).

UPDATE - The Green Bin went out this week for the first time. Not a huge hassle. The Bin Man, even put the bin nicely back on the curb along side the Garbage Can & Recylcing Box (I was pleasantly surprised... I thought the Bin would get just tossed aside like the Recycling Boxes typically do).

Anyways, Green Bin is back in the Garage. Refitted with a new Yard Waste Bag, and ready to go. I am continuing to collect / redirect paper products, tea bags, coffee filters and some food items (started scraping plates into the green bin directly). Stink is a big issue for both of us (him in particular). So I am being somewhat selective right now about what I am putting in... BUT figure the cold weather means it won't smell much... IF at all.

Have introduced "The Man" to a seperate in-house garbage can designated for the Green Bin. He hasn't used it to date (that I know of) but he is aware that it exists, and that I am using it. Figure that it will be another month or more before the Green Bin makes its way back to the curb, so we'll see if more progress can't be made this cycle. Will keep you all posted.

2010 Jan 28
On the stink issue - use some extra citrus in your cooking. I find discarded lemon/lime bits actually keep the kitchen container fairly decent smelling. Our green bin is outside in a "racoon" proof enclosure so no smell issue there.

My only problem so far with the program, outside of the annoying kitchen container - is they forgot to pick it up this week. They came the next day after I phoned. The rural areas are hit and miss, my part of the street has the green bin program (because we have some rural subdivisions that run off our road) but just across the crossing road the other part of my street does not get to participate in the program - although apparently they still have to pay for it.

2010 Jan 30
I just watched the "Garbage Revolution" show... my first reaction after watching it is: what revolution?. I found it rather depressing, actually. Though the narrator expressed optimism near the end of the show, I could see little reason for optimism. The family involved generated a large amount of waste, but there was little analysis of its content, and no discussion of how they might change their ways and do better in the future. So what was the point?

2010 Jan 31
Yeah, good point bdm - that's the sort of analysis we should all be doing

2010 Feb 1
Zymurgist and I put ours out for the first time this morning. I have to say it was more than a bit disconcerting to see them banging away on it with a rubber mallet! I haven't verified by sight, but judging by what seemed to be coming out, it should be pretty empty now -- maybe a bit left frozen in bottom.

I've decided I'm drilling proper drainage holes in the bottom come Spring, though. The container is a rather foolish design.

2010 Feb 1
It's fairly predictable what will happen when you dump wet stuff into a green bin in the middle of an Ottawa winter! Hence the need for some kind of liner to keep the gunk away from the sides of the bin. The challenge is to do this at low cost. We've found that large used flour bags (the 10 kg variety) work great for this... of course, not everyone uses that much flour. I wonder what local bakeries do with their used bags? It would be worth asking... you might just end up diverting some from a landfill, and putting them to better use in your green bin.

2010 Feb 1
Yeah, we've decided we'll use liners - probably a yard waste bag. At least in the winter. Good call on the bakeries - I'm going to ask around.

2010 Feb 1
FWIW, the only stuff left in the bottom of our unlined bin were some chicken carcasses that had been boiled down for stock (and disposed of wet). The rest of the stuff knocked out just fine.

I wish our had the bottom grate like the ones my folks have in Nova Scotia. If it freezes to the bottom, it's easily poked out with a stick. No need for mallets! LOL

2010 Feb 1
We've been making progress as well... this weekend we had a big feed of Crab & Lobster after which we immediately disposed of the shells... usually destined for the trash, they made their way to the Green Bin (which was right beside the Garbage Can in the Garage). Yipee!

They of course went into the bin wet, but we are still using a Yard Waste Bag as a liner, so I am optimistic that they won't get frozen into a mass and stuck in the bin until Spring (lol).

2010 Feb 2
I hope you boiled up those shells for stock before going to the green bin. :)

2010 Feb 2
Was thinking the same thing sourdough :-) We got some great stock from our annual xmas eve lobster feast this year. Canned up, and ready to go!

2010 Feb 5
Just to follow up, i took my bincicle inside on Sunday night and put it back out on Monday morning. It must have thawed enough to grease up the sides, because when i got home that night it was empty. No freeze issues since...

2010 Feb 5
Here is a little story from my last Green Bin pickup. I waited for the truck to stop at my place - I was outside to talk to the driver and asked a few question. I am using the plain Cellulose bags that I had purchased at Giant Tiger (30% cheaper then the "approved Ottawa Bags") I opened the bin and asked what he thought. Oh no - those are not the approved City bags - I can not take that. So I showed him the "Approved Ottawa Bag" Paper on the outside and Cellulose on the inside. My bags are just the same Cellulose as the insides of the "Approved Ottawa Bags" - same organic compost number or whatever its called on both bags - The same thing without the Paper. Good enough guy and he was extremely surprised and took note to tell his boss and co-workers. I told him it was better since I was not using the paper bag and he agreed. Bin was hoisted and taken away. And can some not tell me that some one in City Hall is making a few side bucks with the "Only use the Approved City Bags" in your Green Bin Program. Something smells and its not my garbage.

I think that Pete-in-Ottawa at the local bowling lane is it not??

Just kidding PIO - Enjoy the Super Bowl this weekend everyone

2010 Feb 6
JDK - As I said in my original post, keener that I was, I was looking for liner bags just after my Green Bin arrived in the Fall... only to find there were none to be had in Ottawa (to my knowledge they didn't show up until after Xmas).

Anyways we continue to use a Yard Waste bag... it doesn't fit in the bin all that snuggly (a bit big) but we are making do.

Like you, I think that there is something "foul" with all this (one has to wonder if there isn't a kick-back somewhere).

I've been thinking about these smaller liner bags that folks are using... they have to be taking up a lot of extra space in the bin. Currently we are moving towards food items (yipee) and right now we are using just a regular garbage can with a regular plastic liner to collect, and then we turn it inside out into the bigger Green Bin in the garage (a green bin management method that was suggested here by Frugal based on his years as an Ottawa Green Bin Guinea Pig). Anyways, I got to thinking that if I was doing this just as often (or more so, in that the liner bags are quite small), I'd be adding a paper bag to the mix each time, then it would take up a lot of space in my green bin.

More space taken up... more bags used... more money somewhere!

*Shudder the thought*
(although I wouldn't be surprised, I've lived in this fair city long enough to know the drill).

2010 Feb 25
I just found out about this presentation this morning:

One of the guest speakers was on CBC radio this morning talking about a food diary she kept for three months. She said she estimated she threw out $56 worth of food on her first fridge clean-out and through menu-planning and making shopping lists she cut the amount spent on food waste in half.

2010 Jun 7
Raccoons have outsmarted the people who designed the green bins


2010 Jun 8
OK. First off, I apologize if I glossed over some of my requested answers, but hey, there's a lot of crap in the above I just didn't want to deal with.

My question is this: I'm a new student of environment science. I want to make a(n albeit small) difference. Is there any way I can do at least some of this if I live in an apartment?

I'm on floor 11 of a 12-floor building. We have recycling bins, which I've just started using, but I feel I should be doing more.

I appreciate anyone taking the time to reply to my query individually.

Beauty and birds to you

2010 Jun 8
saurian, the city of ottawa will not be doing green bins in apartments until 2011. you should definitely be recycling, reducing your waste and if you feel comfortable with it, get a worm composter for under your sink. do you have any friends near by that have the green bin already? truck your stuff over to their house. disclaimer: i am one of those people that pack out my garbage where ever i am, so that i can dispose of it the best way possible. i've even taken garbage back to ottawa with me so i can compost it if necessary.

2010 Jun 8
Saurian Do you know any gardeners? If you are looking to recycle your food waste maybe they would take it to add to their compost heap. You could also try contacting some of the community gardens to see if they would like your food waste for their compost as well.

Also try and think of ways you can reuse things. For example I buy milk and yogurt from a place that will take the jars back. I try and buy other items in jars when possible so I can reuse them to store rice, beans, etc.

2010 Jun 8
The biggest thing anyone can and should be doing is REDUCE - and it does not matter where you live, you can do that.

2010 Jun 11
i agree with Zym...again. we use way too much packaging.

Its interesting because the trend seems to be shifting from recyclable to compostable...maybe its because we have a green bin program and its in our minds?

Compostable packaging is expensive (sometimes 5 times, depending on the packaging) but once the demand increases, hopefully the prices will come down.

2011 Feb 17
I am doing cartwheels because apartment and condominium dwellers will now be participating in the green bin program:

2011 Feb 17
If this city had any fiscal sense, it would take the unsed green bins from houses (do to the low participation rate) and provide them to the apartments and condo's.

But no, that would make too much 'cents'. !

2011 Feb 18
where will the condos and apartments store the bins? In their units or in a utility room?
It almost lends itself to a very large bin with a shoot that people could dump their stuff down. That would require almost daily pickups because of the possible rodent problem in the summer.
Going to be an interesting pilot project.

2011 Feb 19
I am very eager to see this in action; it's about time. Those in homes usually had the option of composting, so the apartment and condo crowd could really benefit from this.

2011 Feb 20
I would think that condos and apartments could store their green bins exactly where they store their recycling bins, meaning that you have your small bin in your unit most of the time, and every so often you make a run downstairs and get rid of it.

Normally I am loathe to be "that guy", but Nova Scotia's had province-wide composting for years, both for homeowners and for renters, and the world didn't come crashing to a halt. I'm not sure why there's this perception of this being a challenge. This is probably because I want to punish everybody who doesn't compost ;)

2011 Feb 21
On the CBC news last Thursday evening they mentioned that the condos and apartments that will be participating are doing so on a volunteer basis. My building is not one of them. I wish I had investigated earlier so I could have gotten my apartment building on the list.

I grew up in Montreal and they started a blue bin program in the early 80's if memory serves me right. When I moved to Ottawa in the late 80's I was mortified to find out the city did not have a blue bin program. It's amazing how much garbage I would throw out and I live alone. I seem to remember a similar reaction when the blue bin program was introduced. Ahh Ottawa is slow to change. My dad had a big vegetable garden so we saved our fruit and vegetable peelings, egg shells, and coffee beans and tea leaves - everything went in the compost. Our family of three managed to keep the garbage down to one bag per week. Even though my building is not yet on the green bin program I am trying my bit to keep my garbage down to a minimum. I use the blue bin. I recycle glass jars and plastic containers when I can and what I can't use I give away on freecycle. I use the blue bin as a last resort. As for compost I have been giving my organic waste to a coworker that has a garden. It's not hard once you get the hang of it.

spud guy We have a garbage shute in our building for garbage only. We have blue bins as well but they are in the garage so you have to take your recyclables down to the bin. I use a couple of paper bags to transport my recyclables to the blue bin and when the bags are no longer serviceable I recycle them as well. One of my neighbours uses a cardboard box. Some of the tenants in the building have invested in little blue boxes to keep in their units. I know of only one person in my building that does not take her recyclables to the blue bin - she says she can't be bothered. When the green bin is introduced I imagine the bins will be kept in the basement near the blue bins and it will be up to the tennants to decide when/how to get their organic waste to the basement. As for the rodent problem, single family homes are already using the green bins so the city already has that model to work from. I "think" there was talk of more frequent pickups during the summer months but I could be wrong...