London’s green bin program begins roll-out process

The green bin program will officially begin on Jan. 15, 2024.

The launch of London’s green bin program will begin with the delivery of bins for organic waste to about 120,000 households over the next couple of months. Residents will also receive a kitchen container, a guide on participating in the green bin program and a pickup calendar ahead of Jan. 15, 2024. Landlords should inform tenants about using the green bins because they are part of the information-sharing process.

“Education is one of the biggest things. If people know a lot about it or don’t know a lot about it, they can always be taught how to do it and why it’s good,” said Fanshawe Sustainability Consultant Christine Wardle. “We’ve tried to do that with the signs above all our waste bins. And then we have events where people give out information and everything. So, education is just the most significant factor. And making a fun education and not just, you know, ‘Here’s a pamphlet. Take it home,’” added Wardle.

According to Jay Stanford, London’s Director of Climate Change, Environment, and Waste Management, the green bin program has multiple benefits, including helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including methane gas, produced when organic materials break down in landfills. Additionally, it will convert waste into a valuable resource to feed local farms and improve soil quality. The program will also help extend the landfill’s lifespan by keeping organic materials out. Finally, the City said it will provide local jobs and support the economy.

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Wardle considers the program beneficial to students.

“We’ve been hearing…[from] students and staff. There needs to be clarity between, ‘I can compost food at the school, but then when I go home, there’s nothing for me to be able to do that.’ And it’s been a big issue in London for a long time,” Wardle said.

Stanford explained that the green bin program had been postponed several times. Finally, a grant was awarded in early 2020, but shortly after that, the pandemic struck, which caused a shift in the city’s operational priorities. In addition, the pandemic caused supply chain problems, resulting in delays in the manufacture of vehicles needed to collect green garbage cans and garbage.

London’s green bins and regular recycling will be collected weekly. In contrast, regular garbage will move to a bi-weekly pickup schedule, so Londoners must hold onto their debris for four to six days longer than they currently do.

In addition, Londoners should be aware of some changes to the curbside trash rules. Effective Oct. 1, households that put out large items like furniture, mattresses, and bookshelves for garbage collection must first book a pickup at least five business days in advance. The city now uses smaller garbage trucks for regular pickups, which cannot handle large items.

Londoners should be aware that litter must be left at the curb by 7 a.m. on the day of collection or by 6 p.m. the evening before, as requested on the City of London’s official website. Plastic bags must be a minimum size of 65 cm by 90 cm and 80 cm by 125 cm in length. Not depositing individual grocery or kitchen trash bags directly on the curb is essential. When bags or bins are placed at the curb, they should be placed on level ground and near the curb. Garbage bags should not be left on top of garbage cans, and the contents of the cans should not extend beyond the curb. Trash cans should be easily separated from containers without hinges, ropes, or bungee cords.

For more information on the new garbage pick-up rules, visit the City of London’s website.