Councillors give green light to green bin program in London

A green bin program, set to roll out in late 2021, received strong support from London’s strategic priorities and policy committee on Thursday.

Waste diversion plan, which includes green bins, will go to final vote on March 2

The city's head of enviroment, fleet and solid waste, Jay Stanford, said they'll need to figure out what kind of items will be accepted, and what kind of bin they'll go into, if the program passes a final vote in March. (Alistair Steele/CBC)

A green bin program, set to roll out in late 2021, received strong support from London's strategic priorities and policy committee on Thursday.

The matter will be put to vote at city council on March 2.

If it gets final approval, London's director of environment, fleet and solid waste, Jay Stanford said there are still a number of details to iron out – such as what items will be accepted.

Besides traditional food scraps, Stanford said they would need to decide if it will include some of the items collected in other municipalities, like soiled paper, pet waste, and hygiene products.

"Along with what size of container will be most acceptable to Londoners. Will it be something that is a little larger than a blue box? Some other communities have something that's more of a cart design, that rolls on wheels. These are some of the implementation decisions that'll be made in the next couple of months."  

The city will also have to figure out where to send the food waste.

When it's taken to landfill, it contributes to odour and greenhouse gases, said Stanford. But when it's collected through a green bin program, you can turn it into a new product: compost and biogas, he said.

Skylar Franke, the Executive Director of the London Environmental Network, said she was pleased to see the majority of councillors support the plan.

"We've been sending all our organics to landfill and that is not very helpful for climate change, because then a lot of the organic matter turns into methane, which is one of the green house gas emissions that contributes to climate change," she said.

 Ward 1 Coun. Michael Van Holst and Ward 10 Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen were the only politicians who voted against a 60-per cent waste diversion program at Thursday's meeting, which includes a green bin program for London.