May 2, 2011
Media Release

The Regional Municipality of York reminds residents to use certified compostable bags in their green bins

Use of compostable bags now mandatory
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York is asking residents to make the switch from plastic bags to certified compostable bags for lining Green Bin or kitchen containers.

The new policy went into effect on May 1, 2011.

A phased-approach will move York Region towards a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly process.  Over the next year, program participation will be reviewed and enforcement needs, if any, will be determined at a later date. 

Certified compostable bags made of cornstarch or other plant-based materials break down naturally into compost. Only certified compostable plastic bags, displaying the compostable logo, will be accepted.  Paper bags, which do not require the compostable bag logo, will also be accepted.

Plastic bags cannot decompose with organic material.  When used as bin liners in the Green Bin program, they are removed from the final composted material and sent to landfill for disposal.  Bags labelled as biodegradable break down into smaller particles, contaminating compost with bits of plastic. 

Organics make up more than one-third of what we throw out.  Food waste, dirty diapers, pet waste and food-soiled paper products are accepted in the Green Bin.  By participating in the program or using a backyard composter, York Region residents are helping to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.  At the same time, organic waste is turned into a valuable product, suitable for horticultural and agricultural use, land reclamation and roadside erosion control.

York Region is undertaking a public communication campaign over the coming months to educate our residents on the benefits of using compostable bags. These bags are readily available throughout York Region at grocery, hardware and other retail stores.
For more information on the Green Bin program including a list of retailers stocking compostable bags, please visit www.york.ca/waste 

For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
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Media Contact: Barbara Moss, Corporate Communications, York Region
Phone: 905-830-4444 Ext. 1237 / Cell: 905-505-5775
Email: barbara.moss@york.ca

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