The Toronto Star had a big article yesterday on the huge mess Toronto’s green bin program is in (This is besides the garbage strike) http://www.thestar.com/article/660864 for details.
I should tell you that Toronto’s green bin problems are common knowledge in the waste biz. Many private contractors who compost green waste won’t take their garbage while they want Waterloo Region’s compost.
The main problem is that Toronto lets people put their green compost in plastic bags, mostly the infamous plastic shopping bag. Toronto says they allowed plastic bags so more people would compost. That makes no sense at all if you can’t compost the result! We insist that people use paper compostable bags –kraft bags, similiar to those used to pick up leaf waste. We also do not accept disposable diapers. The problem is the plastic in the waste stream. Garbage rots quickly and the plastic contaminates the compost so it is unusable.
This is one reason why we are rolling out our program slowly. So when we do it, it will work!
By the way, for regular household garbage, you can get garbage bags made of cornstarch and can use the kraft bags also. A report on plastic shopping bag education is coming back to Regional council in the fall.
We recently had the Record note that our compost is going to Thorold. We have investigated building our own composting facility but it would cost 30 to 40 milion dollars and there would still be smell problems. I recently visited a composting facility in Whistler, but it was noted by the manager, that this facility is kilometers away from residents.
We were going to send the compost to a facility just outside Waterloo Region but it didn’t work out so now we are into another tender with hopes the new facility won’t be too far away.
Landfill and waste is a serious problem because no matter what you do, sometimes it smells. And no one wants one near them. But what is the alternative? Many communities are going to incineration, but that also has problems.
I am asking staff about one problem noted in the Star article. Household waste compost can be very salty due to the huge amount of salt we have in our diet. Supposedly if it is properly cured there isn’t a problem. Will keep you posted.
All about the green program and what can go in it, is listed here.