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Ottawa group asking city to consider different changes to its green bin program

Waste Watch Ottawa doesn't think proposed changes to Ottawa's green bin program go far enough.

As the City of Ottawa gets set to debate changes to its green bin program, Waste Watch Ottawa is criticizing the proposed plan and making suggestions.

The Environment and Climate Protection Committee could recommend the inclusion of plastic bags and dog waste in the program on Monday.  

But Duncan Bury with Waste Watch Ottawa told Ottawa Today with Mark Sutcliffe on 1310 NEWS, it would be better if the city was including compostable bags instead of plastic.

"These certified compostable bags are a plant-based plastic material. They do address the 'yuck factor' that people seem to be concerned about [when using paper bags] and they also biodegrade, which is the important thing," he explained. "Plastics, plastic films and plastic bags are becoming a notorious issue everywhere, not just in Canada, and we need to reduce our reliance on those types of bags."

Bury believes compostable bags would also increase resident participation in the green bin program, which is one reason why the city wants to make the change to include plastic bags.

"[Compostable bags] are widely used in many big municipalities: Peel, Halton, Waterloo, Hamilton, Guelph," he added.

Bury thinks a user pay system, similar to what is being done in Gatineau, should also be considered in Ottawa. He said that across the river, residents are allowed one garbage bin, one big garbage bag, and anything beyond that residents have to pay for. 

"What happens when you do that is people become a lot more conscious of where they're putting material," described Bury. "They consciously and more directly put materials into the green bin program and the recycling program, and avoiding putting it into the waste stream, which is what you want."

Similar to the 'pay as you throw' program, Bury said a number of Canadian cities are starting to introduce clear plastic bags for any waste beyond a certain limit. That way the people picking up garbage can see whether or not there are recyclable materials inside, and leave it on your property with a note stating why, if that is that case.

Ottawa City Council will considered implementing the changes to its green bin program, recommended by the Environment and Climate Protection Committee, at its meeting on March 28.

Listen to Duncan Bury's full conversation with Mark Sutcliffe:


Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Digital Editor, CityNews Ottawa & the Valley
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