The Green Bin Is In!

Green Bins
As the environment becomes the topic du jour around the world, an increasing number of Kingstonians are taking an interest in green issues ranging from proposed wind farms, to the cosmetic use of pesticides and organic recycling. With respect to the latter, Kingston is trailing communities such as the GTA, Ottawa, Newmarket and Guelph who’ve implemented programs for curbside collection of organic materials. However, thanks to the recent recommendations of a draft Integrated Waste Management Study, we may be closer than ever to realizing our own green box system, which could curb household waste by as much as 65 percent.

Although specific dates have yet to be confirmed, your blue and grey boxes could be joined by their green cousin as early as Fall ’08. The city has yet to release an official list of what residents might be able to place inside their green bins, however organic curbside collection could include the following items:

  • Fruits, vegetable scraps
  • Meat, shellfish, fish products
  • Pasta, bread, cereal
  • Dairy products, egg shells
  • Coffee grounds, filters, tea bags
  • Soiled paper towels, tissues
  • Soiled paper food packaging: fast food paper packaging, ice cream boxes, muffin paper, flour and sugar bags
  • Paper coffee cups, paper plates
  • Candies, cookies, cake
  • Baking ingredients, herbs, spices
  • Household plants, including soil
  • Diapers, sanitary products
  • Animal waste, bedding (e.g. from bird/hamster cages), kitty litter
  • Pet food

As mentioned above, the collection of such materials via the green bin program is projected to increase Kingston’s waste diversion by as much as 65 percent by the year 2012, thereby reducing our use of expensive landfills. This is an important benefit, as we’ve seen other cities struggle to find new locations for landfills once their current facilities reach capacity. Collected organic material would then be recycled into high-quality compost for local farmlands and parks. Furthermore, the reduction of household waste could eventually lead to bi-weekly collection of garbage bags, which cuts down on vehicle emissions and fuel consumption. All told the benefits of a green bin program add up to huge cost and environmental savings for Kingston. Even though we’ve got a while before they become a reality, you can do more today by incorporating some of Treehugger’s 10 highly effective tips to go greener.

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...

3 thoughts on “The Green Bin Is In!

  • I think it’s awesome that cities outside of the GTA are finally picking up on the benefits of diverting garbage from landfills. Yay for Kingston!

  • Did you guys know that the city of Kingston does not in fact offer free recyling to local buisness owners? Most buisnesses downtown just dump their cardboard in with "regular" trash as there is no system set up to pick up comercial recycled goods.

    • We had an electrician doing some work in our house last week, and he asked me if I wanted to recycle the cardboard/paper waste from some of the packaging he had used. It was at least one grey box worth of materials, and I would estimate that he had two other jobs that day, which would have wasted the same amount of recyclable materials. My electrician stated that although his business pays considerably higher property taxes, the City does not allow him to participate in blue, grey or green bin recycling? I think that this is an issue we need to take a closer look at. If Kingston is honestly trying to divert more recyclable materials from our landfills, extending recycling to businesses should be a no brainer.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!