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Green Bins Have Arrived

Kingston Green Bin

It’s been nearly a year since we first reported that the City of Kingston was finally embracing a Green Bin recycling program. These environmentally friendly vessels will receive our table scraps, soiled paper, and yard waste, and could help reduce household garbage by as much as 65 percent. Throughout the past week or so, I’ve noticed freshly distributed Green Bins lining the doorsteps on my way home, but each time I arrived at my residence, I was disappointed to find that ours had not yet been delivered. Rewind to Monday evening, where we finally received our shiny new Green Bin. Check out pictures of the full un-boxing on our Flickr.

Inside our Green Bin, was a smaller white container, accompanied with various educational and promotional materials. This included two Kitchen Container liners, a Green Bin Guide, a Trim Your Waste Guide, an easy-reference “what goes in your Green Bin” sticker, and a fridge magnet. I took the time to go through all the guides, and I found that some of the content was rather repetitive, and ultimately obvious. One such example described – via illustrations and text – how to place your full kitchen bags, into your paper bag-lined Green Bin. This pamphlet and the “paper bag within a paper bag” system are huge wastes of paper! Then again, perhaps some Kingstonians will benefit from this level of detail.

This past weekend we visited good friends of ours in Wasaga Beach, who also have an organic waste collection program in place. Save for being amazed with the amount of waste they don’t have, I was also taken with their fridge magnet that clearly outlines what goes in the Green, Blue and Grey Bins. As mentioned above, this easy reference guide was also provided to us, however it came in the form of a sticker. Personally, I can’t see us sticking it to our fridge, or any other spot in our kitchen that is out in the open. Further, the magnet we received is rather pointless as it offers nothing more than the City’s catch-all telephone number.

Minor as they may be, I think those points are worth consideration when the City looks at printing and ordering new materials to be included with Green Bins in the future. Since the Queen’s Ghetto isn’t scheduled to receive their Green Bins until September 2009, perhaps they could benefit from a fridge magnet and less paper? On that note, although the delayed delivery of the bins to Queen’s could be viewed as short sighted, I think it will save the City from having to re-issue Green Bins to students who burn theirs in the street at the end of the current semester.

Over the past year, we’ve been recycling as much of our organic waste as possible in our backyard composter, and that’s made a huge impact. In the two days we’ve employed our Green Bin, we’ve already diverted our unclaimed table scraps, those hairballs my wife and cat blame on one another, as well as a paper bag from microwave popcorn. Considering the long list of other items that are suitable for our Green Bin, I can’t wait to see what our curbside contribution will look like in a year from now.

Have you received and started to use your Green Bin yet?  What do you think about this new recycling tool?

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Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

7 thoughts on “Green Bins Have Arrived

  • March 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm
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    I agree, that sticker seems silly and the magnet doesn’t offer any information. Perhaps the sticker can be placed on the small bin (which most people will probably keep hidden anyway). Either way, the green bin is a welcome addition to our recycling program in Kingston. I think people are going to see a real difference on garbage day.

    PS I’m sure it’s your cat and not your wife leaving all that hair.

  • March 12, 2009 at 12:47 pm
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    I’m out in the west end and haven’t seen a bin anywhere out here yet… Seems like they’re starting in the middle and working outwards.

    I can’t wait for mine. We’re already a 1-bag-per-week house… But I’d like to start buying the smaller bags instead of the large ones.

    And PS, I’m torn on the whole hairball thing… We spot them occastionally too… and we have no cat. ;)

  • March 13, 2009 at 10:34 am
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    They are a great idea, but I don’t have that much faith in Kingston’s ability (both the residents and the city) to make it work. Will most people really use these things?

    I’m not going to, but only because I don’t have anything to put in it. We have a pair of composters in our backyard – one for kitchen waste, and one for yard/dog waste – and that takes care of everything, for us.

  • March 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm
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    I was so excited when I got home and saw our green bin in our driveway! Ok, one questions though. I have a guinea pig and we use shavings in her cage. Can these go in the green bin if there is poop and pee in them? Guinea pigs are vegetarians by the way ;) Thanks, Erika.

  • March 13, 2009 at 6:59 pm
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    @erika Pet food is suitable, but from what I understand pet waste should not be going in your green bin.
    @bryan We have a backyard composter as well, but meat and pizza boxes don’t get added to it. Plus over the winter, I find it fills up way too fast so the Green Bin will play a huge role in that respect. Hopefully you’ll be able to find a use for yours.

  • June 28, 2009 at 7:48 pm
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    I think it’s great. Seriously, between the blue and grey bins, and these new green bins, there is very little that goes in our garbage.

    However, I was browsing Toronto’s green bin info, and they can use regular grocery bags to line the kitchen bins, and they are also permitted to recycle diapers and other sanitary products, and also pet waste and litter. I wonder why the discrepancy? I guess they are processed at different plants, differently equipped?

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