Are Green Bins Always the Best Solution for Food Waste?

Cities across North America, and particularly in Canada, are seeing the benefits of food waste management systems. The standard answer to a municipality's food waste problem is almost always organic waste collection (or "green bin" services).

What Is A Green Bin Service?

A green bin service is a waste management system where residents receive a bin or cart from the municipality or affiliated provider and use it to collect their household food waste, much as they do regular trash receptacles. Some programs allow yard waste to be collected either in the same bin as the food waste, or in separate bins - it all depends on where the material is going.

Green bins are usually put out with garbage cans and recycling on waste collection days, and are picked up by collection trucks. Organic waste is then sent to a processing facility where it is either composted or anaerobically digested.

While organics diversion incentives like green bin services are far superior to sending organic waste to landfills, there are certain challenges to green bin services of which we should all be aware:

The Challenges with Green Bin Collection

Pests & Pets

Green bin odours attract unwanted visitors such as bears, raccoons, and vermin. Setting the bin out the morning of collection (vs. the night before) may help mitigate the amount of visitors. While most green bins do lock, animals are notoriously good at finding their way in. Further, lockable waste bins carry a hefty price tag!

Heavy To Haul

Green bins full of food waste are heavy and most programs require the bin to be brought to the curb. This is not suitable for all demographics, especially some older residents and for those who are differently-abled. This becomes a greater problem in winter when ice accumulation freezes the bin in place, and even more difficult to handle.