Kingstonians have been doing an excellent job diverting food and yard waste from landfills since the city introduced green bins in 2009. This past April, the city announced a new by-law prioritizing food waste over yard waste. While yard waste wasn’t banned completely, the new by-law requires food waste to be placed at the top of the bin so collectors can see that it is there. If the bin appears to be filled solely with yard waste, it will not be collected. The new rule left many loyal users of the green bin feeling slighted, annoyed and questioning the city’s motivation.
Of course, the main reasoning for the change comes down to money. Processing yard waste costs $35 per tonne, while the processing of food waste is a whopping $90 per tonne. Because the city already processes yard waste that is both dropped off at the Kingston Area Recycling Centre (KARC) and picked up during fall leaf collection, using the green bin exclusively for yard waste is an expensive way to divert grass cuttings, leaves and brush.
As we all learn more and explore the options when it comes to waste diversion and sustainability, we see the city making regular changes to our green, blue and grey bin programs. In recent years, the types of plastic we can put in our blue bins has expanded, while our styrofoam disposal has been whittled down to white material only. It will be interesting to watch the program continue to grow and change with research and technological advances/changes. I wonder what things will look like in 5 years.
Read on and see why the original article on the changes to the City of Kingston’s green bin program is one of our Best of 2017.