City Hall (Photo)

Sept. 20, 2018.

A curbside green bin program for the City of London is scheduled to start in fall 2022 as part of a waste diversion action plan after a long-time push from city residents. 

A green bin is like a recycling bin for biodegradable waste like fruit and vegetable skins, spoiled leftovers, tea bags and coffee filters. The green bin would be collected from residents’ curbsides on their designated waste collection day. 

“The green bin is designed to divert organics from the residential waste stream and turn them into [compost] or [bio-gas] that is good for the environment,” said Jay Stanford, London’s director of the environment, fleet and solid waste department. 

Stanford emphasized diverting organic waste from landfills will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce impacts at the landfill site and create local employment opportunities. 

The new program is part of London’s 60 per cent Waste Diversion Action Plan, part of the larger Resource Recovery Strategy, which aims to develop “​​a plan to maximize waste reduction, reuse, recycling and resource recovery in an economically viable and environmentally responsible manner.” 

The budget for London’s green bin program was approved in March 2020 with budget changes approved in January 2021, but delays related to the coronavirus pandemic postponed the program's expected launch by a year. The program will now be rolled out in phases starting this fall until early 2023.

London is currently the largest city in Ontario without a green bin program and its city landfill is expected to reach capacity in 2024. London city officials and politicians have proposed expanding the site, but the proposal requires approval from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. The implementation of the green bin program will aid London in reaching its 60 per cent waste diversion target, a requirement before the provincial government will grant a landfill expansion. 

Students living in off-campus housing with curbside collection can expect to receive information about the green bin program launch. There will be increased information and guidance for students moving into residence in September.

Forty-five per cent of London’s current household waste ends up in landfills and the green bin plan aims to bring that down to 40 per cent by 2022, according to the Resource Recovery Strategy.

The city asked London residents how they would like the green bins to work through a Green Bin Community Engagement process early last year. This public feedback process was launched on the city’s community engagement online platform and data was collected over eight weeks from January to March 2021. 

Residents provided feedback on five key decision areas: type of materials accepted, size of curbside container, type of kitchen container, type of bin liners permitted and bi-weekly garbage collection. 

Ninety-nine per cent of the almost 4,000 respondents supported a green bin that included food waste. Bins for soil waste and cooking oils and grease saw majority support as well. 

Other key highlights of the feedback include preference for a medium curbside container size of 80 litres and a tight-fitting lid to reduce bad odours or fruit flies, which was the most important kitchen container feature.  

“I’m quite excited about the Green Bin program,” said Mariam Hamou, London’s Ward 6 councillor, who represents the Western University area. “I’ve always been a composter and I can’t wait to have an option in the winter to get rid of my [organic waste].”

The City of London is continuing to develop its environmental plans, including introducing new recycling programs and other organic initiatives such as community composting and waste reduction and reuse programs. 

“In 2022, priority items will include food waste avoidance and more textile recycling,” said Stanford.

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