Green Bin Communications

Green Bin Communications

Bag-it and bin-it with plastic or paper – making the green bin easy and tidy to use

The new enhancement to the Green Bin Program has now made the green bin more convenient and cleaner to use.

Plastic bags have been added as a bagging option for recycling such items as food scraps, paper towel and tissues, and coffee grinds into compost.  This in addition to the current options in using paper bags in the green bin – which is just as easy.

The other green bin enhancement is allowing pet waste – which includes dog waste and kitty litter.

Why is the City allowing plastic bags?

In a recent market survey, 60 per cent of residents who seldom use or do not use the green bin said they would participate if plastic bags were allowed. It addressed the inconvenience and “yuck” factors that were also identified in the survey as major detractors for residents from using the green bin.

These changes will also make the green bin even more convenient and easier to keep clean. Also, using the green bin takes advantage of weekly pickup, while garbage going to landfill is collected bi-weekly.

How is the organic material processed – with both plastic and paper bags

For the organics bagged in plastic, the organic waste facility has been retrofitted to rip open the plastic bags and separate the organic materials for composting. The plastic bags are then disposed in the landfill.

The paper and compostable bags are processed with the organic materials- including food scraps. They are stored in composting tunnels where the materials are broken down. Any paper or compostable bags that do not break down are separated from the compost and may be recirculated through the process.

The difference between compostable and biodegradable bags 

In today’s recycling market, plenty of confusion surrounds the difference between compostable and biodegradable bags. 

Biodegradable have microorganisms added to help break down the plastic, but it can leave behind microplastic particles that can contaminate the compost.  As a result, the biodegradable bags would be sent to landfill with the other plastic bags.

Conversely, compostable plastic bags are made of natural plant base, and do not leave behind microplastic particle contaminants when put through the composting process.

Green Bin Bag Options

If you choose to use plastic bags to dispose of their organics, you do not have to purchase bags. We encourage you to reuse bags that may otherwise be thrown out, such as milk or bread bags. The plastic bag option is just one of many that are tailored to our residents’ comfort level and interest.  The other options include:

  • Paper bags to keep their green bin clean – including leaf and yard waste bags
  • Newspaper linings in the bin and kitchen containers
  • Cereal boxes and milk cartons to contain food waste

If you are using any of these options, please continue your current practices. You can explore all options and learn what type of organic materials go into the green bin at ottawa.ca/greenbin.

Using the green bin has environmental and economic benefits

Diverting organic waste from the landfill is in your best interest from both an environmental and economic perspective.

The green bin completes the whole recycling package, along with the blue and black bin. These recycling efforts are one of the easiest things people can do to help our environment. Diverting organics from landfill lowers the amount methane – which contributes to greenhouse gases.

In addition, diverting organic waste extends the life of the landfill – which saves millions of City dollars in developing a new landfill site.

Getting a new green bin

If you get curbside recycling collection but don’t have a green bin, you get one by ordering online at  my.service.ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 and we deliver one to your front door. 

If you live in multi-res building that participates in the program but you don’t have a kitchen container, you can also order online at my.service.ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1.  If your building does not participate in green bin recycling, contact your property owner.

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