The City’s Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management today heard that recent policy changes to the green bin program have helped shift resident behaviours to increase green bin use, diverting organic waste from the landfill and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Since July 2019, the City has allowed plastic bag liners and dog waste in green bins to help make the green bin cleaner and more convenient to use, addressing the main barriers that residents identified in market research. In tandem with this change, staff launched a communications and outreach plan to promote the program.

In 2020, there was an eight-per-cent increase in the number of households setting out a green bin, compared to 2018. In 2019, the City sent five per cent more organic and leaf and yard waste for processing than in 2018. In 2020 that number increased a further six per cent.

The City has also made it easier for residents in apartment buildings to use a green bin by introducing a new collection contract for multi-residential properties that removed the main barrier of having to bring bins to the curb. This led to a 37-per-cent increase in the number of properties using green bins.

According to follow-up market research conducted in 2020, the yuck factor (concerns green bins are smelly, messy or gross) is no longer the top barrier to participation for respondents with curbside waste collection.

Because much of this information was collected during the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a significant shift in behaviour and waste trends, staff will follow up on these interim results with an update at least one year after the pandemic ends.

Recommendations from today’s meeting requiring Council approval will rise to Council on Wednesday, May 26.