I am left shaking my head in disbelief after reading an article in THE RECORD (Nov. 19, 2010) by Bonnie Byrne – a citizen of Cambridge, and a member of the Record’s Community Editorial Board.
Byrne is distressed that the Blue Box Program has a participation rate of about 90% while only 40-50% of households participate in the Green Bin recycling project for organic household waste.
Ms. Byrne claims she is “willing to bet only a small percentage” of households “have a backyard composting unit”. If she is able to come up with percentages of participation for Green and Blue usage, she should be able to find out how many have composting units.
For a number of years, prior to the launch of the Green Bin, the Region was promoting composters as the responsible thing to use. They even subsidized the cost to households – and each year, all available composters were snapped up by citizens wanting to participate. So, it seems to me a significant number of households do in fact compost their organic household waste. In our household, we were “forced” to get a composter by my partner’s daughter.
At the same time as the Region promoted the use of composters, they also constructed Landfill Gas Collection systems at the landfill sites in Waterloo and Cambridge. The collected gas is used to produce electricity and to fuel neighboring industries such as Courtice Steel in Cambridge which uses the gas to supplement the natural gas used for a steel melting furnace. On the Region of Waterloo Website, they proudly boast of the Ministry of the Environment award the Region received for this project.
SO, it seems to me that whether households compost, or even if they don’t, the organic waste is put to good use. Again, on the Region’s website, they describe landfill gas recovery as a “win-win situation!” which “creates a potential source of revenue/profit”.
Now, let us have a look at what happens when you put your organic wastes out to the curb in a Green Bin. A big exhaust spewing truck comes along and gathers the waste. In her article, Byrne surprisingly admits this organic matter is trucked to Hamilton for composting. “Hopefully by the fall of 2011”, this waste will be sent to Guelph according to Kim Kitagawa, co-ordinator of waste management for Waterloo Region. So, we are exporting our organic waste to neighbouring municipalities, and in the process we are producing more exhaust fumes which spew from the trucks. And, although I’m not positive, I believe the organic compost produced will be trucked back to Waterloo Region for use there. More exhaust fumes.
So, it seems this Green Bin Program is not green at all. Quite the contrary. I urge the people of Waterloo Region to reject this senseless program and use a backyard composting unit. I believe the Region of Waterloo has longer range plans ot build a composting facility at a cost of over $20,000,000 in todays costs. Overburdened taxpayers can’t afford such nonsense.
Waterloo Region websiteGreen Bin, Green Bin Program, Waterloo Region