The Mindful Merchant

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It ain’t easy being green January 7, 2010

Filed under: composting,environment,gardening,organic,Ottawa — MindfulMerchant @ 2:00 pm


Change is sometimes difficult. I have been following public response to the new City of Ottawa Green Bin composting program that officially began this week, trying to understand why many are against the program. I think an organic composting program is a good thing and feel it is long overdue. Unfortunately, it has flaws that have sparked debate. Here are comments about the Green Bin collected from local newspapers and Twitter. Ottawan’s are feisty and sometimes funny (witty) people. The following responses I think sum up the main issues and public sentiment in an eloquent way.

If you do not live in Ottawa, I hope you will continue to read since the comments provide an interesting view of environmental awareness.





“Not using it, couldn’t find anybody in my family who will take the time to do green bin management.” ~ Nomad


“As for all you greenies that just say you need to do your social responsible thing, well you are a bunch of suckers that will do anything anyone TELLS you to do than SEEMS green. Please just go and cuddle with David Suzuki in a corner somewhere and suck your green thumbs! ~ Ecogreed


“Number of green bins at curb side this morning on my street…1.  Great use of taxpayers money. ~ P


“Nay-sayers-lighten up on the whining about re-cycling and composting as municipal objectives. Do your bit. Act like grown-ups.” ~ Johnnycomelately

“It’s gone! Someone stole my green bin! I hear some people are using them to store bird seed.”  ~ Sam


“Mine is frozen to the ground this morning and will not budge. Great planning Ottawa. Did the global warming people convince you there will be no cold temperatures? ~ Liz

“Come on folks, quit your whining. It’s about time Ottawa started composting city-wide . Other cities have been at it for years – that’s right, Canadian cities, cold-Canadian cities. I think we can do as well folks by applying some common sense. What’s the big deal about odour in the summer? Now you bag your garbage now – news flash – it smells bad in a regular garbage can too! Overall, this is a move that’s been long overdue. Congrats to the city – as for us we’ll work out the bugs and in a few years we’ll wonder how we ever did without it.” ~ Jimmy


“Spend a little more time and make something more reasonable than these bins. I think that they are disgusting. We have seniors that don’t even understand how to use these bins. How do you expect them to understand? Then picking up the garbage every two weeks is also disgusting. You also mention to put left overs meat and fish in the freezer till garbage day this is also disgusting. How you would like to have leftover garbage in your freezer and take it out for dinner by accident. I suggest that the city comes out with a better idea and put more people out to work to collect the smelly garbage that we have to waste.” ~ Tracy


“I support the green bin initiative but the way the city handled it was incredibly amateurish and downright stupid. First of all – a twenty year contract? That is most likely the most boneheaded thing I’ve heard. Twenty years??? Second of all, we should not have to pay for the service – it’s garbage pickup but in a different form – it should all be covered by our normal garbage pickup. As for Orga making a profit on the compost – give me a break – that money should come back to us taxpayers. I do plan to use my bin but I also plan to compost all over my yard. If that attracts vermin, so be it.” ~ East of Eden


“We are the capital of this country, and as such, we should be showing leadership on many issues. To date, on the organic waste file, we’ve shown nothing but how to dawdle and twiddle our thumbs. It’s taken more than a decade for this city to get from the initial idea of collecting organic waste to actually picking it up at the curb. That’s far too long, and frankly, embarrassing.   But now that we’ve reached this point, residents need to give up their grumbling, put their potato peels and egg shells in the green bin, and recognize that it’s for the betterment of this community that we stop sending organic waste to landfill.”  ~ Kerry Thompson (Ottawa Sun)


“There is considerably more that can go into the green bin that cannot go in your backyard composter. I’m a backyard composter too. Over the past two weeks, I emptied my kitchen catcher twice in my backyard composter. On Tuesday, I also put out a full green bin. What I did not do on Tuesday was put out garbage. There wasn’t enough.” ~ Steve


“My green bin will be taken out for my annual pool party and stocked.” ~ Anderson

“Come on people…no matter how badly administered the programs is, something needs to be done about solving the landfill problem and cleaning up the environment. And we’re the only ones who can do it – inconvenient or not.” ~ Bagelcat  


    Interesting isn’t it?

I am excited about the program and want it to be successful. Time will tell. I do believe it is essential to compost for a better planet but then again, I’m a “greenie”.  Guess I better go suck my green thumb.  Now where did I put my David Suzuki doll…



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10 Responses to “It ain’t easy being green”

  1. LH Says:

    Not sure what the exact rules are in Ottawa, but we have had the program in Toronto for years now, and like all else, it just took getting used to. After having personally done it for over a year now (I was slow to convert), there is no doubt it greatly reduces garbage.
    In the beginning, I was against the concept too (too much work, more taxes, less garbage pickups etc…) but now it is all just second nature. With the lessened garbage waste, I swear having garbage pickup once every two weeks is not nearly as bad as it sounds. If you have a baby (diapers!), it can be a blessing that they take organics every week.
    My guess is people will forget was life was like pre-organic bins in 6 months to a year.

  2. I have heard similar sentiments from other people who have composted for years in their cities. I hope we will be saying something similar a year from now.

    • LH Says:

      You will. It’s like bringing cloth bags with you grocery shopping instead of buying the plastic ones. I used to forget about 90% of the time, and now I am down to forgetting only 50% of the time. (Getting there slowly.) It’s all about setting it up for future generations though. I may struggle sometimes but my kid will probably never know a world where you don’t have to bring bags with you when you shop and when I tell him of the “olden days” of plastic, he’ll no doubt think I’m a dinosaur 🙂

  3. Finola Says:

    We did the origami and it was awesome. You were right, the urge to wear it as a hat DID wear off quickly 🙂

  4. Carn Says:

    I must say it did take some time to getting used to (couldn’t remember what went in which garbage) but I love it. It is automatic now. But I must say we are able to use biodegradable bags so I think that might make it a little “cleaner” for us then using the newspaper as a liner.

  5. hannah78 Says:

    We are the ONLY people on our street who are currently putting out our green bin. Its very bizarre!
    Its compost people and not complicated! You buy the paper bags at your local grocer, fill them with organic waste and put them in the bins! *shakes head at stupidity of some people*

  6. ubot Says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  7. Allison Says:

    My boyfriend and I were hanging out on our balcony last night and we noticed there was only one green bin other than ours on the street.

    I was very disappointed in my neighbours, but I guess it will take time to catch on.

    We don’t even buy black garbage bags anymore. Whatever can’t be composted or recycled usually fits in a plastic grocery bag.

    • I am hopefull the green bin will catch on. Well done reducing your garbage. I have to try harder….we still buy garbage bags. Nice to meet you Allison. 🙂

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