48 Responses to Green Bin Program is not green

  1. Allan Dettweiler November 20, 2010 at 4:19 am

    I have a first edition green bin in mint condition. I hope to sell it someday on E-Bay. Our composter is merrily working away creating useful compost at no cost to the Region’s taxpayers (other than the initial subsidy by the Region).

  2. Jimm Hillis November 20, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I am with you Allan, I just have an old fashioned composter in my yard, anyway someone stole our new green bin within day’s of us getting it last year. used it once and Boom,it was gone.

  3. Allan Dettweiler November 21, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Ah, the Monkeys are environmentalists! They know a bad thing when they see it. They probably enjoyed picking through your composter looking for tiny morsels which you had rejected.
    So, the Monkeys lifted your green bin! God bless the Monkeys.

  4. Rick Trujillo December 14, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    What I wouldnt give to have a debate with you about this. You just say so many things that come from nowhere that Im fairly positive Id have a fair shot. Your blog is excellent visually, I mean people wont be bored. But others who can see past the videos and the layout wont be so impressed with your generic understanding of this subject.

  5. Allan Dettweiler December 14, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Rick, please say more. Don’t tell me I’m wrong, and not tell me why.

  6. Keli Stoddert December 17, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Hmm. I am not so sure about that…

  7. Sadie Cousins January 3, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    One of the reasons for the Green Bin program is to keep organics out of the landfill so that landfill space is not wasted on things that could otherwise break down and be used as compost. As far as I know, there is nothing wrong with that. So you COULD put all the organic waste into the landfill, fill it up faster, then ship all your garbage to Michigan. OR you could participate in the Green Bin program and send your compost to Hamilton where it can at least be reused. Not to mention that most of the Green Bin truck fleet are the split bodied trucks that also collect garbage. So what exactly is the problem again?

  8. Allan Dettweiler January 3, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Think about it Sadie. Even if the “Green Bin” trucks are split bodied trucks, it is now going to take more trucks to handle the increased volume. Increased trucks (or the same number of trucks and more trips) will cause more pollution.
    It makes much more sense for people to compost their own organics. Less miles travelled by exhaust spewing trucks. You have your own compost readily available. No need to travel to a location where the Region is handing out compost.
    The Regional Chairman is out to build an empire. The more people that work for the Region – directly or indirectly, the more people there are to vote for him. Of course the bigger Kenny’s empire is, the higher our taxes.
    The more money spent on unnecessary program like the Green Bin Program, the less money there is to spend on infrastructure – which in Cambridge is crumbling. Our pipes are leaking a $Million of water per year.
    Tell me Sadie, if putting your organics in the landfill is so bad, why did the Region build a system which harvests the methane gas which is sold to local industry? The system they brag about on the Regional website.
    The bottom line is that everyone should do their own composting. Remember not so long ago when composters were in voque and the Region was selling them at subsidized prices? To me, that actually made sense. The Green Bin Program makes absolutely no sense – and costs us a lot of dollars!!!

  9. Ruth-Anne White January 4, 2011 at 9:30 am

    To Rick Trujillo. Firstly sir, you contradict yourself. You open up by stating your opinion, then using ‘others’ as a back up? Secondly a debate is about a chosen subject between two parties, pro and con. I am an ‘other’, and I do see past the ‘print’. The Cambridge Citizen is an ingenius foray in which ‘others’ can write ‘their’ ‘own’ opinions, based on artilces, facts, and their own experiences. I can only, however, speak for myself in my high opinion of this concept. Personally, I felt the article was good, to the writers knowledge base and opinions, which were exlplicidly the writers and open for debate, now this is only my opinion and understanding. To reach beyond that would be, again in my opinion only, less credible on my part.

  10. Sadie Cousins January 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I completely agree that more people should use backyard composters. I have one in my own backyard. That was not what I was arguing. But not everyone wants to put fats and meat scraps in their composters. For one, it attracts more animals than regular vegetable matter, and for another, it attracts maggots. Not to mention that rotting meats smell awful. I highly doubt that people in the city would be willing to participate if that is what they would have deal with.
    Again, one of the goals of the Green Bin program is to reduce the volume of waste that enters the landfill. The landfill on Erb Street is the only working landfill left in the Region of Waterloo, and after it is full the waste will have to be shipped to Michigan. So it is a debate between driving a few extra trucks within the Region, versus shipping everything to the USA. I vote green bins. Even if the Region of Waterloo had their own composting facility, where do you think the money for that would come from?
    I’m not entirely sure what you were getting at with this point, but you would have to ask the Region why they built the methane harvesting system. My best guess would be so that they could earn a few more dollars. At least it’s being used and not being released into the atmosphere. Methane is one of the worst GHGs out there, far worse than CO2. So the less there is in the atmosphere the better. Organics are not the only wastes in the landfill that produce methane, so it will continue to be produced even if there is less volume of organic material in the landfill.
    The Waste Management Administration Building on Erb Street has composters available for free for anyone who wants to pick one up. The Region of Waterloo still encourages the use of composters even with the green bin program.

  11. Allan Dettweiler January 4, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    First of all Sadie, do you work for the Region? If so, I will understand why you are fear-mongering.
    Anyone who operates a backyard composter will know that meat scraps, fats etc do NOT belong in a composter. So, there goes your argument about smells and animals. I looked at the Region website, and I was actually surprised that they do accept meat scraps, bones etc in the green bins. We put ours in the regular garbage. The extra volume added to the landfill is small compared to the environmental cost of running extra trucks around spewing out exhaust fumes so unnecessarily.
    Why are you using the “Michigan” argument? That is a load of crap. There is no reason we can’t handle our own waste in Ontario. I think I just heard the other day that Toronto is now shipping their waste to a landfill in Southern Ontario. Yes! I just checked. It’s now going to London.

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/12/30/toronto-garbage.html

    Where am I going with the methane harvesting system? I didn’t think that was hard to understand. My point is that organics are not being wasted when they are disposed of in the landfill. The resulting methane gas is being harvested so it doesn’t go into the atmosphere. Your organics at work for you!!
    None-the-less, I can’t help but think that harvesting gas in this way is not the most efficient way to do things.
    If you think about all the methane gas produced at the Sewage Treatment facilities, I’m thinking there must be some kind of facility that could be constructed to harvest gas from those facilities as well as from organics. Such a facility could be a valuable producer of electricity. This is not new technology – its been done elsewhere for a long time – albeit on a much smaller scale.
    Sadie, its a bunch of bunk that the Region is encouraging composters. Why did the Region distribute Green Bins to EVERYONE (at a significant cost I’m sure) when not everyone uses them? Why does the Region run ads in the paper with Nyle Ludolph (the “grandfather” of the Blue Box program) urging us to make the Green Program as sucessful as the Blue Box?
    The bottom line is that composters don’t help build King Kenny’s empire. He wants the Green Bin program to be part of his legacy. I say it’s time we stuff him in a huge green bin.

  12. Facetious Lee January 4, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    I’m gonna check to see if my green bin is recyclable. If it is, I’m gonna chop it up and put it in my Blue Box!!!

  13. Sadie Cousins January 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    For FACETIOUS LEE:
    If you no longer wish to have your green bin, call the Waste Management Office (the number is on your green bin) and ask for someone to pick it up. Or you could return it to the Office at 925 Erb Street. They do recycle the green bins, but it is preferred that they are in as few pieces as possible.

    ALLAN:
    No I do not work for the Region. I am an environment student at the University of Waterloo. Don’t quite understand why you think I am “fear-mongering”. Is it because I am optimistic about green bins? I didn’t realize that optimism was something to be criticized.
    I did not say that meat and fats belong in a composter. That is an argument FOR the green bin because it DOES accept those things.
    If more people participated in the green bin program then more waste would be diverted from the landfill.
    My apologies for the mistake about garbage going to Michigan, I am clearly not up-to-date on where garbage is shipped. Even if it is going to London, that still means that all those trucks are driving all the way down there, and then back again. I don’t see what the difference is between that and driving trucks around the region.
    If “spewing” exhaust fumes is so bad, then you might want to start speaking to all of the people who commute from K-W to Guelph and vice-versa. What about school buses and city transit that run all day every day? Taxis? What about folks who live in the country and have to drive everywhere? Do you own a car? I doubt that you drive every day since you are so against exhaust. My point is that as long as there are vehicles, there are exhaust fumes and in the grand scheme of things, a few extra split-bodied trucks on the road are not going to be the final straw on “global warming”.
    Please do not demean me by criticizing my ability to understand your point. That is rude, and I have not insulted your intelligence. I am debating with you. I am allowed my opinion and you are allowed yours. People who dislike criticism of their opinions should not write them on the internet.
    Organics ARE being wasted if they go in the landfill. You have said it yourself that it should be composted so that it can be used. What about people who do not want backyard composters? They can still use the green bin. Maybe the problem is that they do not have the space for a composter, or that they would not use the compost. Then do you really think that their organics should go to the landfill when it could still be turned into compost for someone else to use? Waste does not fully decompose in the landfill because there is not enough oxygen. So anything that goes into the landfill is there permanently, including organics. If you put organics into a composter of green bin, at least it has a chance to stay out of the landfill where it can decompose and be recycled.
    I encourage and support the harvesting of methane, and I don’t understand why sewage treatment plants do not utilize it. I did not disagree with you on that.
    If you look at the Region’s website, they specifically say that they encourage the use of composters. I have heard people who work at the Region SAY that residents should continue using their composters.
    The Region distributed green bins to everyone because it is their HOPE that everyone would participate. If everyone were to participate, or at least stop putting organics in the garbage, the landfill would not fill up so quickly.
    I could not care less about “King Kenny’s Empire”. I care about the environment. It will be my grandchildren and great-grandchildren that have to clean up our mess. There are other serious environmental problems other than air pollution. Air pollution is something that the whole WORLD needs to fix, not just the Region of Waterloo. Keeping a few dozen trucks off the roads will not solve all of the air pollution problems, and in fact I would be surprised if it even made the slightest difference.

  14. Sadie Cousins January 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Oh dear, my post is almost as long as your article! My sincere apologies! Once I get going…..

  15. Jimm Hillis January 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    No problem with the length, a good argument is also worth the words.

  16. Allan Dettweiler January 6, 2011 at 2:55 am

    OK, so apparently we both care about the environment. Good!
    As you point out, there are many things we do in our daily lives that are environmentally unfriendly – commuting, taxis etc. I cannot argue with that – and yes, I do some environmentally unfriendly things as well.
    What I’m trying to point out is that the Green Bin Program is environtally unfriendly – and so unnecessary.
    Some time ago I spoke with King Kenny. As I recall, he did not really try to defend the Green Bin Program, but said it was forced on them by the Province. To be more precise, the Province said that the municipalities had to reduce total volume to the landfill sites by a certain percentage. So, to achieve that goal, the easiest thing for the Region to do was to go for a 3rd option for dealing with organics. Thus, the Green Bin Program which was in addition to backyard composting and the production and harvesting of landfill gas at the landfill sites. King Kennys final remark to me was that it gave people a choice. I contend that this 3rd “choice” is environmentally unfriendly and so downright irresponsible.
    So, the fault for this Green Bin mess partly lies with another of our kings – King Dalton.
    Think of all the things that you cannot recycle by adding them to your Blue Box. Plastic meat wrappers, styrofoam (even though it has a recycling designation on it), and many more items. It would have been much better to focus on these things – even if it was at a loss. At least they wouldn’t end up in the landfill WHERE THEY TAKE FOREVER TO BREAK DOWN.
    Think of all the things that go in the landfill. Organics will breakdown the quickest. So the focus needs to be on recycling items that don’t break down.
    My fear-mongering comment was directed at your “Michigan” remark. There is no reason why we in Ontario can’t deal with our own waste. No, London is not an acceptable place for Toronto to export their garbage to, but at least it is better than Michigan. Sadie, just because Toronto doesn’t deal with their garbage responsibly, that is absolutely no justification for “driving trucks around the Region”. (and to Guelph in the not too far future).
    In the final analysis, there needs to be more facilities like the proposed Elmira biogas facility. The operation should NOT be built in close proximity to Elmira, but other than that, that is exactly what is needed – many of them throughout Ontario, each of them close to where the organics are produced.

    http://observerxtra.com/2/featured/elmira-biogas-plant-has-neighbours-concerned/

    Finally, I am not against you being “optimistic”. Personally, I just can’t understand your optimism about something so environmentally irresponsible. The proper thing to do is to reduce the volume at landfill sites in a responsible way.
    We don’t shoot politicians to make our society better – neither should we pollute the environment just to reduce landfill volume.

  17. john January 17, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    you are wrong, the green bin program is worth all the money we are putting in it, where are the people who live in apartment buildings suppose to compost their waste. once people get into it our waste management will once again be the envy, like after WE invented the blue bin, we should live up to our reputation as a green region and use the green bins that everyone has now, it has already happened.

  18. Allan Dettweiler January 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Yes John, the green bin program is green for those who, like you, choose to ignore the trucks spewing exhaust fumes which gather up the waste and truck them all over hell’s creation in the process.
    You do bring up one valid point about people in apartments. Their waste should go into the regular waste where it will break down and produce methane gas which is harvested by the Region at the landfill sites and sold to local industries.

  19. Jimm Hillis January 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I have a composter in my backyard but as for the green bins, I used to have one but someone stole it the first day i put it out for pickup. Seriously, who would steal it!

  20. Sadie Cousins January 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I hope you have not though that I have given up! I have been very busy with school, and so I have not had time to respond to your last post, Mr. Dettweiler. At least it has given me time to think about some points…

    1) The blue box recycling program also uses trucks to drive around the region to pick up recyclables, therefore this program is also a culprit of exhaust emissions, no less than the green bin. If you are truly against the green bin program because of the exhaust, consider that you should also be against the blue box program. Paper recycling also biodegrades fairly quickly in the landfill and it also produces methane. So according to your argument about the benefits of organics generating methane in the landfill, we should be putting paper and cardboard in the landfill as well. Even if EVERYTHING went into the landfill, the same number of trucks would be required – they would all be garbage trucks. This brings me to my next point:

    2) Whether or not organics go in the garbage or are separated in the split bodied trucks, the volume of waste does not change, thus, no extra trucks are needed on the road. More waste is not being generated from the green bin program, it is simply being sorted into a separate bin. The split bodies trucks just keep the contents separated, there is no need for more space in the trucks. Having said that, in a few areas there are separate trucks, one for garbage and one for green bin. To my knowledge, there are far more of the split bodied trucks than there are not.

    3) I will state again, that once the landfill in Waterloo is filled up, garbage will still must be transported to another city that is farther away than Hamilton (whether it’s Michigan or London, it’s still further). If the organics are recycled into compost, at least residents in Hamilton have a renewable resource at their disposal. The longer the landfill lasts, the longer it will be before the garbage has to be shipped away. If Waterloo is using the green bin program at that time, the organics will be shipped to Guelph which is much closer (obviously). This means there will be a lesser volume of garbage being shipped away and therefore less trucks traveling that long distance to London/Michigan (who knows, by that time maybe we’ll be shipping it to Michigan again!). Yes, there will be trucks driving to Guelph, but in the grand scheme of things I think it isn’t as bad as the whole lot going to London. Another point – does London harvest the methane produced in their landfill? If not, then that’s a lot of methane being poured unnecessarily into the atmosphere. (FYI check out COMPOSTING INSTEAD OF LANDFILLING, it’s the 6th paragraph down. http://rcbc.bc.ca/files/u6/Factsheet_Composting_Organics.pdf )

    4) I cannot comment on “King Kenny’s” ambitions. I do not know nearly enough about it to make any statements so I will not do so. I am not remotely interested in the politics of Waterloo Region at this point in my life (I apologize for being so frank)and I have absolutely no intentions to begin researching them. School and work keep me more than occupied for the time being.

    I believe in the green bin program and I know that it is a better plan than throwing everything into the landfill.

  21. Allan Dettweiler January 21, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Sadie, you make some excellent points!
    1) I have from time to time thought about the merits of the Blue Box Program.
    I was involved in recycling in the days before the Blue Box when hundreds of people used to save their recyclables and several times a year everyone would take them to the Kitchener Auditorium parking lot where Mennonite Central Committee and lots of volunteers sorted them. But, when you think about all the separate vehicles coming to this gathering point, it makes you wonder about whether that was actually a good thing considering all the gas used by those vehicles. But, those were in the days before we were concerned about global warming
    The current blue box program gathers many items that if not recycled would not decompose quickly – cans etc. It makes sense to recycle those in a blue box program.
    However I think the Blue Box Program is over-done when trucks drive around less densely populated rural areas. Collection depots would make more sense. Rural people could take their recyclables to the depot when they are on their way to other places.
    THE POINT I HAVE TRIED TO MAKE, WHICH YOU SEEM AT TIMES TO ACKNOWLEDGE, BUT THEN YOU SEEM TO IGNORE IS THAT FOR MOST PEOPLE BACK YARD COMPOSTING WOULD BE THE RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO. YES, IT DOES NOT WORK FOR EVERYONE, BUT FOR THE FEW IT DOESN’T WORK FOR – IT IS NOT ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND TO HAVE A GREEN PROGRAM WHICH IS HEAVILY PROMOTED BY THE REGION. IN THEIR PROMOTIONS, THE REGION DOES NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO RECYLE COMPOSTIBLES. WHICH BRINGS ME TO YOUR #2 POINT.
    2) AS I HAVE SAID ABOVE, MOST OF THE COMPOSTIBLES SHOULD NOT BE ON A TRUCK IN THE FIRST PLACE. THESE SHOULD BE COMPOSTED IN BACKYARDS.

    3) These are scare tactics on your part OR you have been brainwashed. The current landfill sites in Waterloo Region are not the last places where a landfill site can be created. That kind of thinking was what caused Toronto to take their garbage to Michigan. All of a sudden, there is a spot available in, or near, London. I’m convinced there are other spots closer to Toronto for Toronto garbage. Even when the current landfill is full in Waterloo Region, another spot can be found within the Region.
    I don’t know whether London harvests green house gases. If not, perhaps they should. I don’t know whether the London location is nearby and industries that can put the methane gas to use.
    As far as your link which indicates how bad landfill gas is, REMEMBER, ONCE AGAIN, I’M ADVOCATING THAT THE MAJORITY OF COMPOSTIBLES BE HANDLED IN THE BACKYARD.
    Your final statement indicates you have not been paying attention to what I have been saying.
    You say
    “I believe in the green bin program and I know that it is a better plan than throwing everything into the landfill”.
    This proves to me that you want the Green Bin program come hell or high water. If you read my previous posts, and the current post, you will see that I have NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER – SHALL I REPEAT NEVER… advocated throwing “everything” into the landfill. End of story!!!

  22. Lloyd January 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Late to the game.

    Methane recovery is not usually (I say again usually) very effective. It can range anywhere from 30-95% depending on the landfill and how hi-tech it is. With methane being more than 20 times worse then CO2 as a GHG, if the capture is incomplete, it can be hugely worse than composting. Unless the methane capture system is state of the art, it is better to compost, end of story.

    And nowhere have I seen a discussion on the landfill leachate and the cost of handling that item.

    With better (newer) technology the collection trucks aren’t as bad as they once were pollution wise so the ‘trucking all over the place’ argument may not be as relevant as it once was.

  23. Jimm Hillis January 26, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    It’s never to late to join the game here Lloyd.

  24. Allan Dettweiler January 26, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Lloyd, your facts may well be correct. I won’t argue with them. But, I’ll say it again. COMPOST YOUR ORGANICS IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD!!!! As you say, “it is better to compost, end of story”. I will be absolutely thrilled if the majority of it were handled at home.
    What is the difference between individuals “exporting” their compostibles to another part of the City or Region or elsewhere than Toronto “exporting” their waste to London? It’s absolutely ludicrous! Especially since it’s so damn unnecessary.
    And so, if most of the people handle their own waste in their backyard composter, we shouldn’t have to worry about a minority which ends up in the landfill where between 30-95% of the methane gas is captured. I’m guessing that the 5-70% released into the atmosphere is no worse than all the fumes sent out from the extra trucks put on the road.
    And, if we compost our organics in our backyard, there will be no leachate produced from that which we compost ourselves.
    Since you throw the leachate into the discussion, I will ask what about the extra wear and tear on the roads from the extra trucks? What about the extra risk of accidents from more vehicles on the road? What about the increased poor air quality and the resulting medical problems? Not to mention the cost to the health system. And, some people actually die from poor air quality. What about the extra land needed to inter the bodies? Or, if they are cremated, what about the resulting smoke which goes up the chimney of the crematoriums? That will cause even more poor air quality.
    And what about all the vehicles in the funeral procession and the exhaust fumes they create. Once again, more poor air quality! And, more deaths – and funerals – and fumes!
    I just realized, I think maybe the undertakers are behind this green bin conspiracy. Maybe we should kill off the undertakers – as long as we compost them in their own back yards!
    THE GREEN BIN PROGRAM IS NOT GREEN!!!

  25. Lloyd January 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Sorry, I had assumed this was a serious conversation. My mistake.

  26. Allan Dettweiler January 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Serious? Of course – until we get to the cost of handling leachate from banana peels and egg shells!

  27. Allan Dettweiler February 14, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I absolutely love it!!!
    In today’s Waterloo Region Record (Feb 14, 2011) there is an article about recycling pioneer Nyle Ludolph.
    Ludolph is credited by some as being the gentleman behind the Blue Box program.
    I have been a little ticked off as of late because the Region of Waterloo has been using Ludolph in an add campaign, quoting him saying “lets do it again with the Green Bin” – or something to that affect.
    Of course I have made my opposition to the Green Bin well known.
    Now, from the article in today’s Record…

    If he’s being honest, Ludolph would rather see people use a backyard composter than the green bins. “There’s no cost to it,”he said. “But you just can’t get people to backyard compost.”

    So, there you have it . The guy who is publicly promoting the Green Bin would rather you compost in your own back yard. That folks is the only green way to handle your compost. (yes, I understand there are apartment dwellers who can’t compost).

    http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/484881–blue-box-program-turns-30

  28. Sadie Cousins April 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    First of all, I would like to thank Lloyd for making some excellent points that I hadn’t touched on. I think I might name my new puppy after you.

    Secondly, Mr. Dettweiler, I am completely convinced that you are a lunatic. Killing undertakers? For your sake I hope that no undertakers have any suspicious deaths in the near future, because you just posted on the internet that you want to kill them. That makes you suspect number one.

    Third point, it’s too bad that you think I’m some sort of “brainwashed” corporate zombie. I guess you’ll never know because your head is so buried in your backyard composter, you wouldn’t know an environmentalist if one came and poked you in the eye.
    I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU KEEP TYPING IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS! I ASSUME THAT YOU ARE USING THEM BECAUSE YOU WANT TO SEEM LIKE YOU ARE YELLING? How old are you? Mentally, I mean, not chronological age. My ten-year old nephew has better debating skills than you and can raise and debate arguments without yelling. You should go into Canadian politics. You would fit right in during of their debates.

    Yes! You are absolutely right! There is a lot of land where landfills could potentially be constructed. It’s either part of the Greenbelt, or farmland. I really hope you don’t think that a landfill is a better use of space than protected land or farmland. That would make you a very bad environmentalist. Try talking to a farmer and explaining to them why you want to buy their land and make a landfill out of it. My bet is that they would say no, amongst some other very unpleasant things.

    Are you a vegetarian? Do you eat only local food? If so, fantastic. I really meant it. That takes a lot of dedication. However, if you shop at grocery stores and eat meat, then I don’t understand why your biggest problem in the world is green bin trucks driving around Waterloo region. Livestock produce a tremendous amount of GHGs, not to mention having to grow and process the food they eat that could otherwise be fed to people. Transporting foods across the world produces a huge amount of GHGs. My point—the transport and import and export of food “spews” huge quantities of GHGs into the atmosphere, so maybe you shouldn’t let the green bin program ruin your life and concentrate on larger issues.

    I never said that composters were a bad idea, I said that city folk are not likely to use them because of small yards, animals getting into the bins, and the stench that they can produce. You said before that people who don’t use the green bin should throw it all into the landfill. Your words, not mine. So you did advocate that people should throw it in the landfill, many times.

    And yes, I do want the Green Bin program. I wish I had it at my house, but unfortunately I live in a RURAL area outside Guelph. If you think it is so easy to just drop our waste off at the landfill, that is incorrect. The one that is available to us is out of the way, and only open during business hours. So dropping it off before or after work is not possible when you have to leave your house at 6:30am to get to work on time and don’t get home until after 6:00pm. This means that we would have to drop off our garbage on Saturday morning like the rest of the city, and idle in a line up for 1.5 hours before we could drop off our garbage. Is that better than garbage trucks?

    If you are so against the green bin, DO something about it. Stop throwing tantrums about how much you hate it and how bad it is, and request to state your argument at a city council meeting. Might that not be a more productive way to waste your time?

    I bet you own a hybrid car, and drive it around all proud of yourself because you’re saving the world from vehicle emissions. You should research how they are made and try to figure out how large their carbon footprint is. I would start with the battery, it might be the easiest. I have not put in the research for this, but I have heard that a new hybrid car has a larger carbon footprint than a hummer at the end of its life. I don’t doubt that there is a bit of truth to that.

    I have tried to take this seriously, but I find myself repeatedly laughing at these posts. You refuse read or look at things objectively. You always see what you want to see. Yes, Mr. Ludolph said he would rather people use composters. He did not say that the green bin program was bad. I know for a fact that he has one. I have seen it.

    My final conclusion; you have your knickers in a twist because you know I am right. I know that I am right, and to me, that is what matters. I can’t “brainwash” you into realizing what great potential the green bin program has, you have to realize it yourself. I have tried to explain it to you so that you would at least give it a chance. It is a shame that you are so close minded. I will not post anymore, because this debate will never go anywhere if you will always be such a stick in the mud. I have considered much of what you have said, but I disagree with the majority of it. It’s not that I haven’t been listening; I disagree with you. There is a difference. Have you been listening?

    And yes, I commute from Guelph to Waterloo. I don’t have much choice. I’ll take donations though, so that I can afford an apartment instead of driving.

  29. Sadie Cousins April 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    First of all, I would like to thank Lloyd for making some excellent points that I hadn’t touched on. I think I might name my new puppy after you.
    Secondly, Mr. Dettweiler, I am completely convinced that you are a lunatic. Killing undertakers? For your sake I hope that no undertakers have any suspicious deaths in the near future, because you just posted on the internet that you want to kill them. That makes you suspect number one.
    Third point, it’s too bad that you think I’m some sort of “brainwashed” corporate zombie. I guess you’ll never know because your head is so buried in your backyard composter, you wouldn’t know an environmentalist if one came and poked you in the eye.
    I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU KEEP TYPING IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS! I ASSUME THAT YOU ARE USING THEM BECAUSE YOU WANT TO SEEM LIKE YOU ARE YELLING? How old are you? Mentally, I mean, not chronological age. My ten-year old nephew has better debating skills than you and can raise and debate arguments without yelling. You should go into Canadian politics. You would fit right in during of their debates.
    Yes! You are absolutely right! There is a lot of land where landfills could potentially be constructed. It’s either part of the Greenbelt, or farmland. I really hope you don’t think that a landfill is a better use of space than protected land or farmland. That would make you a very bad environmentalist. Try talking to a farmer and explaining to them why you want to buy their land and make a landfill out of it. My bet is that they would say no, amongst some other very unpleasant things.
    Are you a vegetarian? Do you eat only local food? If so, fantastic. I really meant it. That takes a lot of dedication. However, if you shop at grocery stores and eat meat, then I don’t understand why your biggest problem in the world is green bin trucks driving around Waterloo region. Livestock produce a tremendous amount of GHGs, not to mention having to grow and process the food they eat that could otherwise be fed to people. Transporting foods across the world produces a huge amount of GHGs. My point—the transport and import and export of food “spews” huge quantities of GHGs into the atmosphere, so maybe you shouldn’t let the green bin program ruin your life and concentrate on larger issues.
    ………

  30. Sadie Cousins April 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    ……..
    I never said that composters were a bad idea, I said that city folk are not likely to use them because of small yards, animals getting into the bins, and the stench that they can produce. You said before that people who don’t use the green bin should throw it all into the landfill. Your words, not mine. So you did advocate that people should throw it in the landfill, many times. And yes, I do want the Green Bin program. I wish I had it at my house, but unfortunately I live in a RURAL area outside Guelph. If you think it is so easy to just drop our waste off at the landfill, that is incorrect. The one that is available to us is out of the way, and only open during business hours. So dropping it off before or after work is not possible when you have to leave your house at 6:30am to get to work on time and don’t get home until after 6:00pm. This means that we would have to drop off our garbage on Saturday morning like the rest of the city, and idle in a line up for 1.5 hours before we could drop off our garbage. Is that better than garbage trucks?
    If you are so against the green bin, DO something about it. Stop throwing tantrums about how much you hate it and how bad it is, and request to state your argument at a city council meeting. Might that not be a more productive way to waste your time?
    I bet you own a hybrid car, and drive it around all proud of yourself because you’re saving the world from vehicle emissions. You should research how they are made and try to figure out how large their carbon footprint is. I would start with the battery, it might be the easiest. I have not put in the research for this, but I have heard that a new hybrid car has a larger carbon footprint than a hummer at the end of its life. I don’t doubt that there is a bit of truth to that.
    I have tried to take this seriously, but I find myself repeatedly laughing at these posts. You refuse read or look at things objectively. You always see what you want to see. Yes, Mr. Ludolph said he would rather people use composters. He did not say that the green bin program was bad. I know for a fact that he has one. I have seen it.
    My final conclusion; you have your knickers in a twist because you know I am right. I know that I am right, and to me, that is what matters. I can’t “brainwash” you into realizing what great potential the green bin program has, you have to realize it yourself. I have tried to explain it to you so that you would at least give it a chance. It is a shame that you are so close minded. I will not post anymore, because this debate will never go anywhere if you will always be such a stick in the mud. I have considered much of what you have said, but I disagree with the majority of it. It’s not that I haven’t been listening; I disagree with you. There is a difference. Have you been listening?
    And yes, I commute from Guelph to Waterloo. I don’t have much choice. I’ll take donations though, so that I can afford an apartment instead of driving. But don’t worry, soon enough we will run out of oil.

  31. cindy April 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Lost bins & reasons to keep & use the green bin vs composters:

    to the one that lost their bin: you can pick up a new one for free at the dump, which ive had a couple “walk off” even though i had them labled all over, as well as my blue bins and garbage bins. you can get composters, blue bins, and a replacement or extra green bin there.
    while i was there getting what i thought was a spare bin as we have cats… after that is when i noticed it became a replacement bin.

    I have a backyard composter rarely use it now bc of the green bin :). As our place is too public i had to keep it in the backyard/actually to block ppl from trespassing there, we only have the front door to get to it, so inconvient. Although we dont own trees we get neighbours leaves which is too much for our composter ( and tar disease is on them anyway).

    There are things like pet waste, g diaper liners ( they have no plastic), “kleenex” and maple leaves with tar spots ( home composter doesnt get hot enough to kill the disease, compost these and keep the trees sick), weeds: shouldnt go in the composter but ok for the green bin. w the green bin ive been able to reduce the amount of garbage we throw out :). If you are only using a home composter you are throwing compostables into the landfill.

    HC is always useful on a small scale & yard waste if you have a bit of land 🙂
    The biggest difference will be when restaurants and apts use it
    (properly).

  32. cindy April 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    @ who sadie was talking about…
    “yards too small” i only know of one other person in the waterloo region with a smaller yard (REALLY SMALL!)than we have, we have a part lot, a small strip of land on either side of the house land in the backyard is further swallowed up by a small bbq & the car, even where i lived several yrs ago i was in a duplexed house, most of the yard that “we had” was concrete, i still had a composter in the corner in the shade… & gardened or had planters, small yards is just an excuse, when they get the green bins they will still complain “no place for it”.
    if animals are a problem: they can get you a lock at the dump: free.
    smell: if you have it dumped weekly ( which we didnt have issues when we are forgotten about by the garbage men) we keep all our bins outside the front door, take the stuff there when it gets full or in the summer if things that spoil put it out asap. if you spray the inside w cooking spray its easy for all things to be removed ( especially important in the winter), smell then use baking soda etc ( something non toxic).
    ppl are so lazy! w outa car we managed to drag e waste to the drop offs at the aud. we keep all batteries, bulbs & anything that shouldnt go to landfill and drop it off at the appropriate places ( greenshow always takes e waste you get a free ticket to get in), you can drop off any kind of household batteries and light bulbs at hardware stores: free.
    its hard when we didnt have a car but we still mannaged… even bought rain barrels at fairview mall and took them home by bus. got composters took them home by bus.

    “green cars” at the green show seems their focus last yr was on hugeass hydrids not the small cars like the smart car or electrical ones ( the smart car is big enough for a 6 ft big guy to b comfortable )
    lots of shows on a world w out oil or other disasters, maybe its time to act like we dont have it instead of waiting or passing off the problem to the next generation.
    it does go further than blue & green bins, you should see whats in your personal care products, food etc check out environmental working group.

  33. Facetious Lee April 8, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Sadie, if you name your new puppy Lloyd, maybe you should call your boyfriend (or husband) Allan at those times you are PO’ed at him.
    Yup, that Allan guy does seem to be somewhat of a lunatic.

  34. say what ? April 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Allan,
    Your point is taken: It is best to use a compost in the backyard for sure, but it had limits. Green bins are a long term solution and so foresight is key here. Trials and pilots before building expensive publicly funded facilites are required, so hauling to Hamilton is the best option for now. A necessary evil to determine feasibility of building a composting facility closer to home. Assesing public participation rates, etc, is critical at this point. The benefit of centralized facilites over household composters is that they can process much more than most people place in their backyard composters: meat, bones, etc. Even if everyone composted their veggie scraps, what happens to all the other organic material? They end up in the landfill, embalmed for decades, using up precious space. The amount of organic product in the landfill is at least 17%, depending on the region. That’s nearly 1/5 of “wasted” landfill space. A $20 mill compost facility, beats a $100-$200 mill landfill. Landfill gas recovery will happen with or without the presence of copmpostable organic material in the mix, bacause there are plenty of other garbage items to biodegrade and emit gasses. Sending what we can to a composting facility actually turns organic matter, intended to decompose into nutrient rich humus, into just that: dirt. And nutrient rich dirt is gold!

    I use both systems and am greateful for the opportunity: compost the greens for my garden’s needs, and green bin for the rest that the backyard composter simply does not breakdown without more work that I dont have time for. My experience with waste management planning, design and auditing gives me enough reason to vote for collection programs in adition to promoting backyard composting.

  35. Allan Dettweiler April 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Hey, say what?
    I’m thinking that if we have to reduce the volume going into the landfill sites, it would be better to reduce – or eliminate, all the plastic materials being land filled – the types of plastics that currently are not recycled.
    Those plastics have got to represent a significant percentage of what is currently being landfilled. If organic matter ends up being “embalmed for decades” as you suggest – and I’m not disputing, how much longer will it take for plastics to break down. I would suggest 100’s – maybe thousands of years!
    It is simply ludicrous to go into the cost of finding extra solutions for organics when we don’t even have one way of recycling some kinds of plastics.
    What do you suppose is the cost of nutrient rich compost which is the end product? I would suggest the cost is horrific when you add up not only the monetary cost, but the environmental damage caused by trucking the organics from the sidewalk back to the garden.
    And no matter how you spin it, my trip to my backyard composter has no affect on the environment.
    I have yet to see any rodents attracted to my composter which is closed fairly tight. But if there should be a few, they in turn are producing “compost” in just another environmentally friendly fashion.

  36. Lloyd April 15, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Hi Sadie, thanks for the acknowledgement. As you determined, the intent of my first post was to bring up a few points that had not been made yet, as well as to clarify some information on methane recovery and truck technology.

    It is unfortunate that reasonable discussions on issues is often very difficult in todays society but I appreciate those that make the attempt. It doesn’t take much reading to determine those that have some background knowledge of the issues and those that don’t. I enjoyed your posts and found myself nodding in agreement several times. I am encouraged when I read of our university students taking such an interest, it gives me hope for the future as well as the environment that my generation disregarded and took for granted. Keep on questioning and challenging those that appear to use bluster over knowledge.

    I am involved with a small municipal composting project and am fully cognizant of the participation rates/volumes of backyard composting versus municipal collection in my community. I suspect that many communities are similar.

  37. Facetious Lee April 15, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Hey everyone,
    Things, I see, have gotten pretty hot – looking at the above posts.
    Looking them over, EVERYONE has made at least some valid points.
    But, we don’t, in my not so humble opinion, have a winner!

    Here are some truths as I see them as I quickly look things over

    * Home composting is a good thing, but not available to everyone (apartments, restaurants etc.)
    * Organics, whatever the decomposition rate, break down more quickly in a landfill than most other types, especially plastics.
    * The cost of organic pickup at the curbs has some significant costs. Home composting, when feasible, has minimum costs.
    * Methane havesting is not always efficient.
    * Some of the above posters are using “bluster over knowledge” – other are resorting to name calling. This is all very childish. Shame on ya’ll. (especially Allan & Sadie).
    * Ken Seiling is not a King.

    I’ll be back!

  38. Craig April 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Definitely an interesting discussion that I would like to add too…

    * While organics ‘break down’ in the landfill they do not disappear (they take up space) and the resulting compost can not be re-used. Separating it out allows them to not take up space in the landfill and be re-used in our gardens.

    * Yes home composting is a good thing as it does not require it to be shipped to a central facility (nor shipped back to be re-used), but it does not handle all organics (just own a pet or two and suddenly you have a significant amount of organic waste that can’t be composted), and is not an appropriate solution for the increasingly dense parts of the city (townhouses without a yard, condo’s, and apartments). [and increasing density and reducing urban sprawl is in the long term strategy of the city]

    * I’m not sure why the amount of methane collection is even an issue because 1) NO methane is collected from home composters, yet it generates just as much there as in the landfill 2) 30-95% collection is much better than 0%, and will improve over time and 3) bulk composting facilities can be outfitted with methane collection.

    * As stated, handling organics does not increase the number of trucks over existing waste handling… sure it doesn’t decrease it either, but home composting isn’t a single pancea solution either [and as has been pointed out, regenerative brakes, and other technologies reduces pollution from trucks]

    * Recycling is awesome, and ironically – uses completely separate trucks from the garbage trucks, unlike organics. [yes we already have the recycling trucks, but we also already have the split garbage/organics trucks]

    Mainly…

    I’m not sure why we have to vilify one part of the solution (an organics handling system) over another part of the solution – some home composting, better recycling of plastics, packaging reduction, etc.. There is no one single solution to our problems – we have to attack this from multiple angles.

    Some involve short term choices (shipping organic waste to Hamilton) while we work towards the long term solution (efficient organic waste handling and processed locally for those who can’t compost in their back yard, and for the organic waste that can’t be composted in the back yard. Recognizing that the long term strategy involves people living in denser spaces, making composting a decreasingly applicable option)

    If we are calling the organics handling un-environmental strictly based on trucks, that really isn’t an in depth analysis. In fact, since there is a lack of numbers here (numbers of trucks for garbage/organics/recycling, pollution released from trucks, amount of methane released/collected/reused from backyard versus central processing, amount of household organics that could be composted in the backyard versus central, number of households that could or do recycle, number who can’t [which is not insignificant/and increasingly significant], and long term projections) … I’d say most arguments are pointless because they are based on feelings rather than fact.

  39. Allan Dettweiler April 27, 2011 at 2:42 am

    Craig, the best summary I have seen so far!!!
    I think we should forget most of what was written earlier and debate this summary.

  40. Lloyd May 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    @Craig

    Good points.

    Reference your methane query and comments…

    1) Methane is not normally generated by home composters so capture is not an issue. Methane is a result of anaerobic digestion, not something you normally want in your backyard. There is no comparison between a home system (or an aerobic composting facility for that matter) and a landfill when it comes to methane.

    2) Methane is more than 20 times worse than carbon dioxide as a GHG, ergo small amounts are very significant. Most, but not all, new landfills target a very high capture rate so they are getting better. Retro-fitting old landfills has a very inefficient capture rate and is mostly symbolic at best. Best to keep organics out of older, existing landfills if at all possible.

    3) Bulk composting facilities do not want to generate methane at all. AD systems on the other hand want to generate methane to capture and use (heat recovery, electrical generation etc) but are extremely expensive. Europe seems to have more AD systems than North America but there are a few being set up here now.

    Lloyd

  41. Craig May 1, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Thanks for the clarification on methane / I forgot about aerobic/anerobic processes (it’s been too long since science class 🙂 )

  42. KP July 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Do you put your garbage out to be collected curbside? Cause if you do, the trucks are split into 2 compartments – one for garbage, the other for green bin. There aren’t extra trucks collecting green bin waste. As for the trucks going to Hamilton, this happens maybe once per week. And this truck is packed to the masses in organic material. The methane produced from organic waste in the landfill is 50 times worse than the CO2 produced by the truck driving to Hamilton. There is nothing wrong with backyard composting, but just saying, there are probably a lot of things you throw into the garbage that could go in the green bin.

  43. Facetious Lee July 19, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    KP, you must have taken “New Math”.
    Yes, it’s true about the trucks being split. However, since there’s more to be gathered when you add organics,it’s either gonna take bigger trucks, more trips, or extra trucks.
    And no matter how you do your math, it’s still less green overall.

  44. Allan Dettweiler September 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

    So, I’m curious Scot.
    The mag online edition of this article is censored until after the election, but this part is not?
    Something is just too weird. I’m not getting this at all.

  45. Scot Ferguson-Barber September 18, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Allan, I’m not talking about the article being online. I’m talking about the Fall print edition. I was going to run this but I’m going to wait until the Winter Issue.
    Because of some things we have going on with the magazine I’ve decided to leave the election and the politician’s out of this issue.
    There is no doubt that there will be more politics in the print edition in the future, but it will be when there are several people making the editorial decisions rather than just me.
    This is a decision I made some time ago when Atinuke was nominated.It is not this article as much as the one that I asked Atinuke to write, as I didn’t want to be accused of showing favoritism to the NDP.

  46. Jimm Hillis September 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    At least Allan has the cajones to say what he thinks , not just tow the party line.

  47. Allan Dettweiler September 18, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    OK, gotcha

  48. Cindy Vercouteren October 19, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Your backyard composter can not take everything that the green bin can. Meat, Germ filled tissues, Pet wastes etc CAN NOT go in the backyard composter. The city is able to compost at higher temps, and kill the germs in items put in the green bin.

    As it was with the blue bin so it’s for the green bin ppl don’t want to sort their garbage.

    These are not a waste of money but prevent the smells associated with dumps in the 1st place, rotting organic waste.

    We don’t ask that ppl stop using their backyard composers if you have them. Some ppl can’t have them such as ppl in apts.

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