City Environment Committee Approves Plan to Expand Green Bin Program to Apartments and Condos

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“It’s something people want and I believe it’s going to be something people will take advantage of.”

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Unanimous support from a committee of council means Ottawa is on the verge of implementing mandatory green bin requirements for apartments and condos receiving municipal waste collection.

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On Tuesday, the Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management approved a staff policy proposal to require collection of organic waste from multi-unit apartment buildings receiving garbage services. of the city, with an implementation date still being worked out.

Com. Scott Moffatt, chair of the committee, said an organics strategy for multi-residential buildings should have accompanied the launch of the green bin program years ago, particularly as a measure to meet requirements to “put or pay” for the buildings under his treatment. contract with Convertus (formerly Orgaworld).

The council awarded the 20-year contract for organic waste to Orgaworld in 2008. The domestic green bin program was launched in 2010.

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The plan to expand green bin collection in multi-residential buildings sends a message to residents, “we’re here for you,” Moffatt said after the meeting.

Com. Catherine McKenney, who represents a downtown neighborhood with a high concentration of apartments and condos, said she frequently receives requests from residents for green bin service in their buildings.

“It’s something people want and I believe it’s going to be something people will benefit from,” McKenney said.

If City Council also approves staff’s recommendations on April 27, staff will begin calculating how much it might cost and how long it would take to launch the mandatory green bin programs in buildings.

However, new buildings registering to begin municipal collection will be required to have a green bin program beginning June 1, 2022. Other buildings already receiving municipal collection can voluntarily join the program until the city sets a Mandatory participation date.

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The city offers garbage pickup for multi-unit buildings, but these property managers can hire private collection companies for the job instead. City staff could not say how municipal collection fees compare to private collection fees since private contracts could be based on either the number of units or the tonnages of waste.

Staff said they would report back to the committee by mid-2023 on costs and an implementation date. The proposed timeline prompted questions from Coun. Riley Brockington, who wondered why it would take so long to get the job done.

“I just don’t want to wait until 14 months to get a final report when you’ve been doing such a great job for years,” Brockington told staff.

Project Manager Lindsay Webley enables staff to discuss potential issues with property managers and make internal plans for deployment.

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The policy for multi-residential buildings is part of the city’s larger plan to draft a new solid waste master plan, with a particular focus on extending the life of the municipal landfill on Trail Road.

Increasing diversion rates in apartment and condominium buildings has been a longstanding challenge for the city, as older buildings were not designed to accommodate multiple garbage collection streams.

The city is also interested in improving communication with residents about municipal diversion programs.

Waste Watch Ottawa co-founder Duncan Bury said it’s a ‘long-standing outrage’ that the city spends so little on waste collection promotion and education programs compared to other jurisdictions. .

The city spends an average of 48 cents per household per year, but staff research found some other municipalities spend between $2.28 and $6.50 per household.

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The committee also approved a staff plan to strengthen waste diversion education and promotion programs.

Com. Shawn Menard suggested the policy for multi-residential buildings is a no-brainer, but he warned that other potentially controversial waste proposals will come in the council’s next term.

For households receiving curbside collection, the city is considering reducing the maximum number of garbage bags allowed, introducing a pay-per-bag system, or implementing mandatory clear garbage bags, the all to increase waste diversion.

“It’s a big win for Ottawa, but it’s an easy win,” Menard said of the multi-residential building strategy.

“There’s a lot more to come here that’s not so easy.”

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