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.
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