The City needs to make it simple and easy for residents to keep organic material out of costly landfills. That is what Council was aiming to do with the recent approval of a revised contract with Orgaworld Canada.
For eight years, Ottawa has had an organics diversion program, the Green Bin program. This program kept 533,000 tonnes of organics out of landfills as residents put kitchen and yard waste into the green bin, rather than the garbage bin. For many people, this has worked well, using paper liners for the kitchen catchers and green bin.
However, many others have not gotten into the green bin habit. Residents told us they do not like the messiness of the green bin. Therefore, staff has had good discussions with Orgaworld and come up with a solution; allowing residents to put their organic waste in plastic bags, which will be screened out at the Orgaworld plant. For those residents who want a green bin with less mess and odour, this will clear away the barrier to their participation.
Another change the city has negotiated with Orgaworld is to allow dog waste in the green bin. Dog owners and non-dog-owners alike want pet waste dealt with and sending this waste to the Orgaworld plant is a sensible solution.
We’ve improved the level of service for residents at a very affordable cost – 15 cents a month per household.
We have negotiated more favorable terms in the new contract, so the City will not be paying the contractor when we do not meet certain tonnage targets.. This new contract will turn a new page with Orgaworld, after a long period of expensive legal disagreements with the contractor.
The changes are an important step for the environment with an expected increase in organics diversion and reduction in greenhouse gases from landfills.
By increasing diversion of organics, precious space at our Trail Road landfill will be saved. The longer we can preserve the space at Trail Road, the better for taxpayers. Otherwise it will cost the City hundreds of millions of dollars to research, plan, approve and build a new landfill site, if a suitable site can be found.
With these service changes the City is getting ahead of legislation coming from the Government of Ontario ̶ that ultimately could include banning organic materials in landfills.
The current green bin rules – no plastic bags and no dog waste – will remain in place until mid-2019, as the Orgaworld plant is upgraded with odour mitigation to handle these new materials. The City will provide detailed information about the new program in the months to come.