Just Bitchin’ – Garbage in Ottawa

On a recent Saturday my Court (a self-contained circular street) held a garage sale.  Since our regular Friday garbage collection had been moved to Saturday due to a holiday Monday, one of my neighbours had the foresight to call the City to ask if the garbage could be picked up early to avoid what we were hoping would be traffic jams of shoppers.

Much to our surprise, the City agreed – and even called back to confirm our request.

Saturday appeared – no sign of garbage trucks at the promised 7am – and there are usually THREE of them – one to collect the green bins and yard waste, one to collect the blue or black box recycle items and a third to collect “real” garbage.  It seemed that dispatch finally reached these drivers about 10am that morning – and all of a sudden, we had 3 garbage trucks fighting to make their way around the court to pick up bins, hidden behind cars parked on both sides of the street (and in the centre of it) while people shopped for bargains.  AMAZING.  IT WAS ALMOST LAUGHABLE.

This got me thinking about an old beef of mine (and one I share with my City Councillor).  Our current system of garbage collection achieves waaaaay short of the targets for recycling (landfill avoidance).  It also involves, as I said above, 3 trucks, 3+ drivers, lumbering down the street each garbage day….not to mention the space in our garages that must be found for blue box, black box, green bin, garbage can and yard-waste bags.  A double-car garage is no longer enough!!

I wonder what would happen if we put our garbage and recycle things out in one container (or several – but still all mixed in together)……created a sorting station which would employ a number of folks currently on UI or Welfare – should result in an ability to meet nearly 100% of the landfill avoidance targets if said people are doing their job, avoid 3 separate garbage trucks and associated costs, and put the onus where it belongs for this entire process.  We do, after all, pay for this in our property taxes.

What do you think?


2 thoughts on “Just Bitchin’ – Garbage in Ottawa

  1. Just back from Fernie and there the onus is on the citizens. They have a sorting station which employs a couple of workers. You take everything there. They have bins outside for cardboard, paper products and glass bottles, etc. Inside, you take your liquor bottles, beer cans, tin pop bottles, and plastic water bottles for a refund. They have stations right there for sorting. The one thing they didn’t give a refund for was milk bottle products which seemed a little strange but there was a bin for that. They do have a truck come around once every two weeks and they could stop that a save more money. I realize Fernie is smaller than Ottawa but sure made a lot of sense. We could do that here in The Beach!

  2. That would be a great idea. This is also what is being done in Edmonton (I only know this through second hand information, so my details may not be quite accurate). But the pickup for recycling is one container/bag/truck. The recycle is shipped just out of town, where homless, low income and inmates sort the contents. Minimum wage is paid (or thereabouts). Sounds like a decent system; virtually everyone wins. Less trucks, easier on homeowners, and those who aren’t doing anything (or are not able to) have gainful employment.

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