Green bin program picking up

Dennis Hanagan

Of the 4,000 buildings across Toronto that the city collects garbage from about 3,600 have joined the city’s organic recycling program, says Rob Orpin, director of Toronto’s collections and litter operations.

One of the landlords that Orpin’s department deals with is the Toronto Community Housing Corporation that has buildings in Regent Park. “We have a group of staff set aside working directly with them,” says Orpin.

New condos and townhomes in Regent Park are on the organic recycling program.

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“I was on Oak St. I noticed they had their green bins out,” Orpin told the Bulletin.

Since about 2006 new multiple-dwelling units built in Toronto have been equipped with “tri-sorters”—that’s three garbage chutes, one for regular waste, another for recyclables and another for organics.

But older buildings, like those in Regent Park, don’t have tri-sorters, thus the need for the city to provide outdoor bins and in-unit containers for the residents.

Orpin and his department have invited every building in Toronto to join the program. With an owner’s approval Orpin determines where the outdoor organic bins can be stored on-site then gets containers and literature about the program delivered to each apartment in the building.

He says that from all the households across the city about 130,000 tons of organic material is being redirected annually from landfill sites.

Environment Canada says less organic waste in landfill means less methane gas escaping into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. It’s 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of global warning, says EA.

Different buildings have different success rates with the program, says Orpin.

“We have some condominiums that have really good participation rates and we have other buildings that have a poor participation rate,” says Orpin. “We are going back working with those building owners or property management companies to increase the education of the residents to get them using the program.”

Organic recycling benefits building owners who save on their garbage disposal costs. It’s also of use to homeowners when it’s mixed with yard waste and turned into compost given away to the public at Environment Days.