Composting Thoughts on Garbage Collection Day

After putting out the full blue box of bottles/cans/tetrapaks I went looking for the Glad bag of household garbage. The garbage can in the driveway was empty. I went into the kitchen, and discovered the little plastic bag from Luciano’s was stuffed rather full of household garbage. Once I gathered up the wastecans from the bathrooms and bedrooms, I still had barely half a green bag of garbage, and this is in a household of two adults, one teen (with a weekend crowd of five more teens living in). So I cleaned out some stuff that I otherwise hadn’t yet parted with, in order to not waste the space in that garbage bag. I know this logic is somewhat … lacking … in coherence.


On garbage day through the winter I frequently had a stuffed-full green bag or sometimes two. The difference between then and now is composting. I went into the last winter with the compost bins in the backyard already full. Therefore during the winter I threw away the carrot peels, eggshells, potato peels, brocoli stems and other compostables. As the compost bins thaw, the piles inside are shrinking, and I have begun composting again. Can these organics really amount to half a green bag or more of garbage, per week? Guess so.


I am always impressed by the townhousers around the corner from me on Walnut Court. About 45 townhouses all put their garbage out at one curbside collection point. The pile of blue or black boxes, and leaf bags, is always several times larger than the collection of a dozen or so green bags. The sheer volume of recyclables is visible to even the dimmest observer. Once green bins are introduced, the volume of green bags should go down even more. Lesson: sell your shares in Glad Bags.


Now, if only whomever stole my black newspaper bin a few weeks ago would return it …

2 thoughts on “Composting Thoughts on Garbage Collection Day

  1. One of the minor points that most irks me about Ottawa is our abilty to put out as much garbage as we wish, notwithstanding the fact that the City has to pay to dump waste. Yet, I pay as much (or more, since waste collection is only partially rate suported) for my 1/2 can of garbage a week as someone who puts out two bins.

    My simple solution is to only allow one bin/bag. Also, to allow residents to buy stickers for $2 to add an extra bag. Sell the stickers at all stores where OCTranspo tickets are sold with whatever profit margin those stores get (10%? 20%?). This policy would a) increase revenue b) decrease cost and c) encourage people to be less wasteful. Why should we reduce waste when we have a free service like waste collection?

    (and I know it would actually possibly increase costs slightly as people increased recycling)

  2. Chris, your point has merit, but I have some reservations. To some degree we accept public services because everyone benefits. We benefit by having a cleaner city if everyone can get rid of their garbage. If we charge per bag, it will incent some people to take their garbage to public street recepticles (this is why there is no longer a garbage can in the little parkette on Lorne, it was constantly being filled with household trash). My grandparents used to live in Westboro on Cowley Avenue. Every garbage day dozens of bags appeared dropped off by cars with Quebec plates because they otherwise had to use a pay-per-use dump and it was easier to drop stuff on the streets in Ottawa for free. I am concerned that free garbage collection is like free parking – there is a certain percentage of the population that will go to considerable lengths to score something for free. And I dont want their garbage dumped in front of my house.

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