Maria McRae

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Waste diversion having desired effect so far, says city

Waste diversion having desired effect so far, says city

CBC News Online, Ottawa

The City of Ottawa says its green bin program for diverting organic waste from the landfill is having the desired effect so far, citing data collected in November and December.

During that 61-day period at the end of 2012, the amount of waste dumped at the landfill decreased 19 per cent and organic waste increased 17 per cent, compared to the same period the year before.

But that’s just over two months. The total amount of waste collected in 2012 was down 2.8 per cent compared to 2011 and the total amount of organics collected from year to year increased by just 1.8 per cent.

Maria McRae, the city’s environment committee chair, tried to put a positive spin on the limited data.

“November and December 2012 reflect the first two months of the bi-weekly residential waste pickup, so the initial data is actually promising,” she said.

“[But] it is far too early for us to draw conclusions about the long-term impact that the biweekly collection has had on waste diversion in our city.”

At the end of last year, the city fully implemented its waste diversion program, aimed at extending the life of the current landfill.

Regular garbage is now collected every two weeks and green bins are picked up every week.

There is also a different collection regime for recyclables, with alternating biweekly pickups for recyclable cardboard (black bins) and cans or bottles (blue bins).

Despite the array of waste bins, and the reduced collection of garbage bound for the landfill, people like Centretown resident Helene Merritt believe the new system works.

“It’s important to keep the neighbourhood clean, and it’s important to recycle for the environment,” she said. “We all want a clean environment and less landfill, if we can get it.”

The city is developing a mobile app, with pointers and reminders of collection days, that it hopes will be available soon.