Ottawa’s green bin program has been a messy business since it was introduced. In the original contract with Orgaworld, the city overpaid and guaranteed an unachievable level of waste. Even now, many residents don’t use their green bins, in part because they find the whole thing smelly and disgusting.
Allowing residents to use plastic bags would likely increase participation. But by addressing one problem, the city would be creating another. We’re supposed to be reducing the amount of plastic we use, not increasing it. Either way, the difference will be incremental. The city still requires residents to do much of the heavy lifting, making us sort our waste into four different containers before we put it on the curb. And all of that effort goes toward only a small part of the problem.
If we really want to cut down on the amount of garbage being sent to landfill, we should put in place stricter rules for commercial and industrial organizations, who produce the majority of the waste in our world. Unfortunately, that’s beyond the city’s jurisdiction. So all they can do is adjust the Orgaworld contract and hope more residents use their green bins.