Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen
Nearly five years after it was introduced, the green bin organics recycling program is available in only 15 per cent of apartment buildings and townhouse complexes in Ottawa.
The city provided bins to all single-family dwellings served by curb-side garbage collection in of advance of the program’s 2010 launch. But multi-unit apartment and condominium buildings, as well as some townhouse complexes — where residents bring garbage and recyclables to a central location for containerized pickup — have proven much more difficult because the city requires the co-operation of property managers, condo boards or residents to drive the program.
That could explain why only 198 of the roughly 1,300 eligible buildings and townhouse complexes have green bins today, according to Marilyn Journeaux, manager of Ottawa’s solid waste services department.
Green bin service is available to every building in the city. Property managers or condo board representatives can call 311 and arrange for a waste inspector to visit the property and work out a plan for pickup.
“One of the barriers to apartment buildings is we literally have to work one-on-one with each building to figure out a solution to implementing the program in the building,” Journeaux said.
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all package.”
The revelation that green bin use in apartments and condos is so low comes at a time when both Mayor Jim Watson and environment committee chair David Chernushenko say the city must do a better job promoting the use of organics recycling, particularly in multi-unit buildings, as part of a broader strategy to boost diversion rates and prolong the life of the city’s Trail Road landfill.
“It’s disappointing it’s that low,” Chernushenko said, adding he’d like to get a better understanding of the logistical challenges many buildings owners face.