York Region encourages residents to switch from plastic to compostable bags in the Green Bin
NEWMARKET – York Regional Council has approved the launch of a region-wide program encouraging residents in more than 250,000 York Region homes to make the switch from plastic to compostable bags in our Green Bin program. Compostable bags are an environmentally-friendly choice that will reduce waste and improve Green Bin organics processing.
“York Region’s Green Bin program is thriving thanks to the dedication and support of our residents,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “We can now build on our success to deliver an even more comprehensive, environmentally-friendly program.”
Between May and August 2009, residents will receive educational material promoting the purchase of certified compostable bags for the Green Bin, as well as compostable bag samples to try at home. The program will introduce residents to the benefits of compostable bags and promote a voluntary switch for those still using plastic bags to line their Green Bins. This voluntary program is the first step of a phased approach to fully eliminate plastic bags from the Green Bin program in the near future.
York Region’s Green Bin program currently accepts plastic in the form of bags, diapers and sanitary products.
Allowing plastic bag liners in the Green Bin provides a clean and safe collection process for residents and collection staff and contributes to a higher participation and diversion rate; however, all plastics create waste and processing issues during the composting process. Unlike plastic bags which must be removed from organics and sent to landfill, compostable bags break down within the composting process and support a more environmentally-friendly and efficient process.
“Reducing plastic bag use will improve our program and keep us on course to achieve our goals,” said City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Mario Ferri, Chair of the Region’s Solid Waste Committee. “As we move toward our goal of diverting 65 per cent of waste from landfill by 2010, the ongoing success and growth of our Green Bin program is imperative.”
In the short-term, introduction of the compostable bag program is anticipated to reduce plastic bag waste by an estimated three to five per cent, adding more tonnage to the Region’s already successful diversion program while lowering composting costs. The cost of the program is estimated between $95,000 and $150,000, depending on the number of compostable bags donated by manufacturers.
York Region staff will report results back to York Regional Council by the end of 2009 to assess the program outcome and discuss the implementation schedule for the mandatory program to follow.
York Region’s Green Bin program was introduced in stages beginning in 2005, with all nine municipalities participating by September 2007. York Region processed approximately 86,000 tonnes of organic material in 2008, diverting more than 2,800 trucks of organic waste from landfill.
The Region was recently recognized by Waste Diversion Ontario for having the No. 1 ranking among large urban Ontario municipalities for our diversion rate of 45.7 per cent in 2007.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
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Media Contact: Kim MacGillivray, Corporate Communications, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 1209 / Cell: 905 251-6412