Text from OSST Nov 9, 2015 (http://www.owensoundsuntimes.


Green bin program could soon begin in Owen Sound
by Denis Langlois
Owen Sound is now closer than ever to introducing a green bin program for city residents.
After occupying a spot on the city’s priority list for nearly a decade, council voted Monday to support, in
principle, implementing a source separated organics pickup program in June, subject to successful final
negotiations between Owen Sound and both Miller Waste and the city’s neighbour Georgian Bluffs.
“We all talk a lot about doing what our residents want. This is one topic that, in my time on council, comes up all
the time — many municipalities do it, how come Owen Sound doesn’t?” Coun. Jim McManaman, who moved
the motion, told his council colleagues during a lengthy discussion on Day 2 of budget deliberations for 2016.
He said cost has been the brick wall that has prevented the city from introducing the program, which was
identified as a top priority in a 2007 long-term waste management master plan.
But now, thanks to a combination of factors, the projected cost — once pegged at $1 million for start-up and
Year 1 operating — is much lower.
Councillors agreed that the timing is right to start the program.
Owen Sound’s current contract for waste management with Miller Waste expires on May 31, 2016.
In seeking proposals for a new seven-year contract, the city asked companies to submit bids for both a standard
waste management program — curbside collection of trash and recyclables — and one that also includes source
separated organics pickup and disposal.
Miller Waste submitted the lowest of two bids for both the garbage and source separated organics contracts.
The company submitted the only bid for managing the blue box program.
Based on those bids and talks with Georgian Bluffs, city staff told council that it would cost property taxpayers
about $218,000 more each year, on top of the garbage and recycling collection costs, for Miller Waste to pick up
organics at the curb and truck it to the biodigester in Georgian Bluffs.
Miller Waste is to buy new waste collection trucks for the start of the contract. The garbage trucks would
include compartments for both trash and organics, should council decide to go with the green bin program.
That means the city would not be on the hook for a new truck for organics collection, which was part of the
estimated start-up costs in the past.

The city also wouldn’t have to use its compost site for disposal and hire a supervisor for the yard — as was the
plan in the past — since Georgian Bluffs has agreed to accept the organic waste for $25 a tonne at its
The only start-up costs for the city, council heard, would be about $200,000 to buy green bins and hire someone
on a contract to distribute them to residents.
That money would come out of an equipment reserve fund.
Miller Waste must still approve the city’s plan to bring the organics to Georgian Bluffs, since the company’s
proposal was to drop it off at All Treat Farms in Arthur.
Negotiations are to be finalized and council is to make its final decision within the next month.
McManaman said the city’s waste diversion rate has been “forever” stuck at about 60 per cent, which is
amongst the highest in the province. A source separated organics program is key to increasing that number, he
“We pretty well recycle everything that can be recycled, more or less. This is the next phase of that,” he said.
Council also asked for a staff report on potential options to offset the cost of the green bin program, including
through increasing the $2.50 cost for garbage bag tags and the surcharge for commercial waste.
Mayor Ian Boddy said all options will be explored.
“It is an increase in our costs, to our municipality, there’s no doubt about it,” he said of the green bin program.
“So council has chosen to add a service but it’s going to be an added cost, whether it’s a bag tag, no matter how
we do it, it’s going to increase costs for the city.”
Council is also planning to look for cost-cutting measures this spring when it embarks on a full-scale service
Boddy said the green bin program would, first and foremost, benefit the environment.
City staff said organics — which include food waste, paper fibre, wood waste and yard clippings — represent
about one-third of the total residential waste stream.
Miller Waste’s proposed contract for 2016 to 2023 for waste and recycling alone would have a net cost to the
city in 2016 of about $214,000, council heard.
Adding source separated organics to the mix would boost the price to $494,000 if All Treat Farms is used as the
disposal site.
The net cost would fall to about $432,000, based on a disposal estimate from Georgian Bluffs.

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