Where Have All the Green Bins Gone? Burgh Hits the Bottom of the List with a Failing Grade!
It is now six years since the City introduced the Compost Plus pilot programme into nine Ottawa neighbourhoods, one of which was a stretch of New Edinburgh including Crichton Street and Stanley Avenue, and the lanes on either side. The primary objective of the programme was to divert the very substantial compostable component of household waste from Ottawa’s overextended landfill to a commercial composting facility, and in the process to avert the significant costs of creating a new landfill site. Important side benefits of the system included an attendant reduction in the methane gas production of the landfill, and the creation of valuable compost for enriching the soil.
Over the years since the “Green Bin” system was introduced, the News has urged our readers in the pilot area to get on board the City’s green initiative, and on several occasions, we have offered tips about how to use the Compost Plus system to best advantage, and with minimum inconvenience. The results of our crusading are not encouraging. In fact, they’re downright depressing! The table below shows the relative participation rates of the nine communities in the programme, with the Burgh coming in dead last at just over 20%.
Based on my observations through the winter months when only an astonishingly small number of green bins were at the curbside on collection day, my guess would be that those households who are using the bins at all, are using them primarily for garden waste in the spring and summer, and not for the kitchen waste which accounts for such a large proportion of the average household’s garbage.
Come on folks, we really can do better, much better! And indeed, if all goes as planned, we will have to change our ways, as the Green Bin programme is currently slated for city-wide implementation by the end of 2008. Nearly all major Canadian cities already have such a system in operation, and Ottawa is currently trailing the pack, struggling to boost its waste diversion rate from the present level of about 32% to the provincially mandated target of over 60% by 2008. So it’s highly probable that Green Bins are here to stay and in the present climate (oops!) of heightened environmental awareness, it makes sense to use them to the best possible advantage.
What Goes into the Green Bin Here’s a quick summary of all the stuff that should be going into your Green Bin:
Fruits and veggies
Meat, fish, scraps, bones
Coffee Grounds and filters, teabags
All food leftovers
Paper towels and tissues
Greasy pizza boxes
Paper bags for sugar or potatoes
Cold fireplace ash
Wood chips and sawdust
Plants and weeds
When you get right down to it, that’s most of your garbage (in our experience, about 80% of the non-recyclable waste).
If you haven’t yet caught on to the system and are daunted by the prospect of smelly containers, maggots and marauding animals, these are all entirely avoidable pitfalls, and in fact, in six years of faithful use, we have never encountered any of them. There are a few simple tricks, the most important of which is to make use of the specially designed Bag to Earth Kitchen Waste bags (available at Jolicoeur Home Hardware) to collect and store organic waste. We find it helpful to line the bottom of the bags with a couple of discarded newspapers, and in the case of really mucky articles, to wrap them in newspaper before putting them in the bags. From time to time, I have also popped newspaper-wrapped scraps into the freezer for storage until collection day, just to minimize the risk of unpleasant smells.
If any readers are still uncertain about best to introduce this new routine into their households, I would be happy to go through the abc’s of using the Green Bin to best advantage, so please send in your questions/concerns to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. It really is a simple and perfectly hygienic system, and will significantly lighten the load of irreducible garbage shipped off to the groaning landfill.
So please, let’s try to go Greener, both for the environmental health of our City, and to boost our community’s failing grade in Environmental Stewardship!
We know, we know, it’s the middle of winter and the farthest thing from anyone’s thoughts is the river. Within a couple of months, however, that pristine snow and ice covering will be gone, revealing the regrettable human legacy of garbage and debris that piles up on the river banks or bobs along in mid-stream each summer and fall. As we have reported in recent issues of the News, a NECA-sponsored working group, newly dubbed the Urban Rideau Conservationists, with the help of a recent generous grant from the City, has ambitious plans for a greatly expanded Rideau River Clean Up Day this coming Mother’s Day, May 13, 2007.
Our Project Coordinator Catherine Canning has taken the lead in preparations for the event, which we hope will extend beyond our own annual clean up in Stanley Park and environs to include communities up river such as Vanier, Sandy Hill, Hog’s Back, Mooney’s Bay and Hunt Club.
The 2007 Rideau River Clean Up is currently the community’s Number One environmental project, and successfully orchestrating an event of this kind requires the assistance of willing volunteers. Whatever your particular interests and skills, we need your help to make this happen!
If you think you may be able to help out as a Team Leader for the Stanley Park Field House, to take charge of operations in our neighbourhood on Clean Up Day, please contact Catherine Canning at email@example.com. To lighten the load a bit, you may want to volunteer with your spouse, your teenager (in search of volunteer hours and/or a not too costly way of paying tribute to Mom on Mother’s Day), or a publicspirited friend. No experience is needed, as Catherine plans to provide a thorough training session in the relaxed atmosphere of one our local pubs and will make sure you are fully acquainted with the logistics of the operation by the time Mother’s Day rolls around.
If you are able to help out in other ways such as making contacts with other community or environmental groups, assisting with publicity, finding sponsors to provide refreshments and prizes for participants, or simply lending a hand to clean up the shoreline on Mother’s Day morning, please get in touch with Catherine as soon as you can. It’s our river, it’s our mess and it’s all of our responsibility!
Attention All Harry Potter Fans: On Friday, July 20th, Midnight is the Witching Hour!
Fans of Harry Potter should mark their calendars for the evening of Friday, July 20th when Books on Beechwood will celebrate the release of the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. There’ll be Music, Munchies, Costumes, Contests, Prizes and of course, copies of the new book hot off the press. The fun starts at midnight, so kids, start working on your parents now so you don’t miss this wizardly event!
Since the time of our last brief “no news” report in February, the Ottawa Citizen’s Patrick Dare has proven his superior investigative skills and produced two very intriguing articles on the NCC’s behind-thescenes negotiations on the future of the Canada and the World Pavilion. The first of these articles suggested that the Commission has been actively engaged in discussions with a number of members of “the federal family” ranging from federal departments and agencies to cultural institutions, international nongovernmental groups and foreign embassies.
Professor Imam Syed Soharwardy will be at Mackay United Church to speak on Islam and what is going on in the world in the name of Islam. Prof. Soharwardy is the founder of Muslims Against Terrorism. There is no charge and all are welcome, please join us from 1pm-330pm on Saturday, Jan. 20th in the Friendship Room (or the sanctuary, depending on numbers). Question period and refreshments. More information about Prof. Soharwardy may be found at
Since Christmas, the neighbourhood has been quiet with respect to criminal activity. Nonetheless it pays to continue our vigilance to prevent the statistics from climbing.
We have often talked about putting in place measures to secure the home such as putting on lights, cancelling the newspapers when you go away and keeping your doors locked at all times. We have, however, not talked much about the additional measures that help to enhance your home’s security, like security systems, or the use of keys and garage door openers.
Security systems by no means ensure that you will never be broken into, however it acts as a deterrent. Younger criminals in particular, who are looking for something to sell, will mostly look for an easy entry into your home, i.e., through unlocked doors, or an open garage door. In other words, crimes of opportunity. They would usually prefer not to risk setting off an alarm. Therefore, if you decide to get an alarm, choose a reputable company. There are numerous companies to choose from, but remember, you are trusting your security with them, so choose wisely. Ask for references and ask your friends and neighbours for recommendations. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau.
If you move or change doors, get new locks installed or change the key combination. You can never guarantee how many keys the previous owners made, and more importantly who they were given to. Remember, criminals are looking for the easy way to enter your home. Having your keys gives them free and easy access without trying.
Lastly, have you ever wondered why you woke up one morning to find your garage door open, even though you swore you had closed it. Well, it is amazing how many of us buy that new garage door with the latest in remote controls, but forget to change the code. All garage doors openers are set to the manufacturer’s base specifications with a common code. You must remember to ask your installer to change the code to one unique to you. Otherwise criminals can purchase a standard opener and cruise the neighbourhood trying everyone’s garage door until one opens. Before you know it, the contents of your garage are gone.
I say this almost every article, but get the Police to help you assess your home security. It is free and it might just save you from the next round of break and enters.