Ottawa green bins 'crawling' with maggots

Some Ottawa green bins have become a breeding ground for maggots, city residents say.
Maggots can often be found when meat is thrown into green bins. Solid waste managers recommend freezing the meat and putting it out on the day of green bin collection. ((CBC))

Ottawa green bins have become a breeding ground for maggots, some city residents say.

"The bin was completely crawling with maggots," said Maryanne Swinimer, who screamed when she first encountered the problem. "It was absolutely disgusting. I've been composting for years and never had an issue like this."

The hot summer weather is adding to the infestation of fly larvae in green bins, a city program introduced in January. It's good business for Brian Ashe, who follows the compost collector and pressure-washes green bins for a fee.

"It's a dirty job. A lot of people are just spooked by the look of maggots," said Ashe, who said at least 60 customers have used his service. "They're really squirmy so they call us to do it for them."

Ottawa's manager of solid waste operations said the main culprit behind green bin maggots is rotting meat. Like garbage, compost is best kept dry, said Marilyn Journeaux.

"The trick to that was to keep the lid on it and keep things from getting wet and sloppy inside the garbage can," she said.

She suggested freezing meat and putting it in the green bin on the day it's collected. Wrapping wet items in paper towels or placing them between layers of leaves will also reduce the maggot problem, she said.

But it seems no trick is good enough to persuade Swinimer to use her green bin again.

"It's been three or four weeks in a row and I find it just gross and I'm not doing it anymore," she said.