By now, you may have heard that this week (yesterday, to be exact) San Francisco initiated a mandatory composting program that requires every residence and business in the city to use a third “green” bin for organic waste alongside existing bins for trash and recyclables. Read more about San Francisco’s composting program in a post I wrote back in July and in this recent New York Times Green Inc. post that discusses the positive impact that the program has already made.

Great work San Fran, but let’s now turn our attention to Canada for a moment, shall we? Ottawa, Ontario, is also in the process of enacting an extensive municipal composting program but because it’s Canada and not the perennially crunchy/progressive City by the Bay, the fanfare around this program isn’t as loud. Just like many notable green initiatives in Canada, Green Bin Ottawa is decidedly cool, quiet, and under the American radar. So thanks to TreeHugger’s Michael Graham Richard, an Ottawan himself, for bringing it to my attention.

According to Richard, Ottawa residents (aside from those in a pilot program) have been receiving nifty new, compost-only green bins since September. Everyone should have one by December with a couple of exceptions including high-rise buildings. Unlike San Francisco, Green Bin Ottawa, although extensive, will not apply to businesses. In January 2010, collection of the new bins is set to begin on a weekly basis in most areas.

What’s more, each bin comes with a handy, removable “kitchen containers” for food scraps. The city hopes to divert nearly one half of municipal waste from landfills with the composting program. 

The list of items allowed to go into Ottawa’s new green bins is massive: bagels, dryer lint, popsicle sticks, pet hair, hedge trimmings, marmalade, microwave popcorn bags … the list goes on and on.

Congrats, Ottawa. Do you live in a city with a full-fledged or pilot composting program? If not, would you support one? Or would you just rather compost in your backyard or kitchen? Or would you rather just stick to sorting out trash and recyclables? 

Via [TreeHugger]

Photos: Green Bin Ottawa

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Green bins invade Ottawa
Much ado has been made about San Francisco's new composting program. Up north, Ottawa residents will soon be using new green bins of their own.