London green bin program rolling out by end of year

A gren bin being pulled CREDIT: CITY OF LONDON
Green bins are planned to start delivery in June of this year, with pickup planned for late fall.

London’s long-awaited green bin program will hopefully launch by the end of this year. Originally set to launch in 2022, the planned rollout has faced both pandemic and supply chain delays. The 26 trucks needed to make the program possible suffered from a shortage of parts needed to make the trucks themselves.  

The trucks will run on compressed natural gas, as opposed to the diesel of a normal waste collection truck and will have a separate compartment to keep food waste isolated from garbage. At the time of writing, the trucks still do not have a planned delivery date. City officials are working with the manufacturer to get a date set in stone.

Jay Stanford, London’s director of climate change and environment and waste management, explained some of the details of the program in an email.

Navigator. Londons student lifestyles magazine.

“The green bin will be picked up on a weekly basis or almost weekly basis, depending on how holidays are handled. Food scraps and spoiled papers. Pet waste is undecided at the moment.”  

A decision on pet waste and items like diapers will be made once other municipalities are consulted and input from processing facilities is taken into account. Assuming the program is received well by Londoners, close to 20,000 tonnes of waste will be diverted from landfills to composting facilities.  

The city will deliver 121,000 45 litre green bins, along with another 130,500 seven litre kitchen containers, to London homes with curbside service tentatively scheduled for June. Bins will be collected weekly, while garbage collection will move to biweekly pickup, as “smelly” garbage is usually food waste. Apartment buildings will have to wait for their bins however, as a pilot project is currently still in the planning stages.

Annual operating costs of the new program is estimated to be at around $5 million, and will cost $15 million total to get running. The program is a requirement for the approval of the planned expansion of the city’s landfill, which will add another 25 years of capacity to the site.  

Heena Rajani, the coordinator of Earthfest London, is excited to see the green bin program finally coming to fruition.  

“It’s a good thing for London. Composting is a hugely important thing, we throw away so much food waste as garbage, and it’s not really garbage. This is nature’s gold.  It’s way overdue, it’s shocking that we didn’t have one already.”

Rajani, who is also the co-founder of Reimagine Co., a grocery store focused on low waste, said that education regarding how to minimize food waste and compost needs to happen in conjunction with the green bin plan.

“How do we store food properly? How do we only buy what we need? How to reuse food, proper freezing, preservation, all these things around food waste that are not difficult to do,” he explained. “We’ve gotten so used to things being convenient, so I think the education around food waste is overdue as well.”

He added that while people can be resistant to change, he hopes that with the proper education and implementation, the green bin program will be a success in London.  

“[London] is a great place for environmental action, a lot of cool projects and great organisations. We live in a beautiful city with a lot of possibilities.”