Green Bins

The Green Bins Have Finally Arrived

Hi gang! Sorry things have been so quiet as of late. It’s been…well…an interesting couple of weeks, to say the least. I have a sneaking suspicion that the next few days will end up being even MORE interesting (once our little bundle of joy stops procrastinating! haha).

One very interesting, and SURPRISING, event occurred late last week – and that was the arrival of “Green Bins” in my neighborhood! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, Green Bins are like recycling bins, but instead of serving as a collection for recyclable goods, they are designed for taking away everyone’s compostable “wastes”.

Strangely enough, while everyone else in my neighborhood received only one of these bins, I somehow ended up with TWO! Are they trying to rub it in, or what?

As some of you might imagine, I have mixed feelings about this program. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons as I see them:

PROS of the Green Bin Program

  • Great solution for all the compostable – but NOT composter-friendly – materials like meats, fat, oils, poop etc
  • A great option for those people who will never in a million years start composting
  • Nice, easy “green” option for times when you are feeling lazy, or overwhelmed with organic waste

Cons of the Green Bin Program

  • Results in a LOT more people never bothering to learn about composting
  • Gives people the WRONG idea about organic wastes and composting (when managed poorly these bins are NASTY)
  • Just another mechanized governmental service that only “serves” to create more of a separation between us and our “wastes” – we can go on about all the “Green” benefits until we are blue in the face, but at the end of the day it’s still a garbage truck showing up to pick up our trash!

Nevertheless, I decided to humor them by being a “responsible citizen” (for once – haha) this week. I put out my bin on garbage day, and couldn’t help but feel just a hint of superiority as I surveyed the neighborhood, only to see two or three other green bins out for pick-up. That’s RIGHT – who’s da GREEN MAN in this neighborhood?!?! Whoo!!

Only later did I discover that they weren’t actually doing their first pick-up until next week.


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    • Anna
    • October 28, 2010

    LOL! That’s too funny.

    As another CON, I’d like to add that it uses fossil fuels to transport waste that could have been handled without using any fossil fuels. (At the same time, I suppose that’s better than it going to the landfill???).

    • Jillian
    • October 28, 2010

    I have mixed feelings about them, too. I’d rather see municipalities offer compost bins or the green waste cans. In most areas around here you can actually pick up free truckloads of compost in the warm months. For some reason our area doesn’t offer it. Where does it go?

    • Terri
    • October 28, 2010

    In my community, we can put yard waste in large paper bags for composting… but what they do with the compost in the end is, they spread it over the top of the landfill. :-/

    • Nic
    • October 28, 2010

    LOL! i think u need to read the fine lines alittle =) and do u think there are such things as procrastination genes? i think u passed them on =)

  1. They just started a new pilot project for collecting food compostables with our local hospital in Bendl. They say if it is successful they will expand it to the general population of Bend. This is supposed to include all compostable waste including food waste. I think they will find that people will not separate things properly. I wish they would put the same effort in advocating home composting.

    • Larry D.
    • October 29, 2010

    Bentley,no joke! Look at this as a sign.You got two.One is a good start for a flowthru if the sidewalls are fairly stout.If you want,i can give you some to make it a flowthru.If you bring it to me,i’ll make it for you!
    They give me two,i’m making two flowthrus..If they would have a hog feed program or something,it would be worth it to dispose of some stuff.We have a yard litter pick up,that goes to another dump!But people don’t care as much as they should.I have some aluminum can drop off bins clearly marked aluminum cans only.I find all sorts of gross stuff in there.I still cash in the cans though!But boy can they stink at times. “Redworm One” doesn’t care though!She loves scrap can money!

    • Brenda Y
    • October 29, 2010

    I agree….. compost bins should be offered instead. The green bin program uses fossil fuel for pickups….that kinda defeats the whole green idea doesn’t it? Offering compost bins would encourage the public to recycle more responsibly, and become green gardeners as well!

    • Bentley
    • October 29, 2010

    Wow – popular topic!

    Good “con” Anna – would be interesting compare transportation emissions to those from the landfill (methane and N2O – both very potent GHGs)

    We have everything in our region – really solid recycling program, free composters for the taking, yard waste pick-up. BUT, again – if people have the option of being lazy vs getting their hands dirty and learning about composting, I think we all know what most people will choose.

    NIC – Good call on the procrastination genes! My daughter (first child) was 8 days late! lol
    This one – two days and counting (thought last night for sure, but…nope).

    • Bentley
    • October 29, 2010

    LARRY – that’s funny! I too definitely had my “worm head” goggles on when I saw the second bin – envisioned some ways to make it into a worm bin! haha
    It has nice little wheels on it and everything! lol

    • Kator
    • October 29, 2010

    Too funny Larry .. I was also thinking of a dozen or so uses for those bins .. none included placing them at the curb. I’m curious to know what Bentley was donating. Based on what we know of our Compost Guy .. he’s not given to depriving his extended family of gourmet eisenia fetida of goodies πŸ™‚

  2. I too think these green bins are a bad idea the way it seems to be set up. there is room for improvement even if slow its at least a start. good luck. we don’t have them yet in my area, upstate ny.

  3. Good points on the pros and cons.

    I think it’s great for urban areas where chances are even slimmer that people will start composting…hence my mission to get people started.

    But you’re right, there’s no education in just providing it…and there’s no forcing someone to learn, either.

    Is there a ticketing process in place if you improperly (or ignorantly) dispose of a soda bottle in your compost bin? Here in Philly, you get fined if there’s recyclables in your general waste can. Even better when someone is walking down your street on trash night and conveniently puts their beer bottle in your garbage can.

    Anyway, I still think it’s a good thing overall to be doing, but yes there’s more to be done on the education end.

    I wonder if the city will begin condemning composting at home once people do it on their own and prevent the city from collecting revenue?

    Yet another question: is the program forced air windrows with goretex covers, or just a huge effort by farmer joe to take on a lot of stuff?

  4. I’m with Larry. When I read the photo caption I thought the post was going to be about how you made them into flow through bins. It does seem to be a large fossil fuel expenditure to transport. Neighborhood composting sites make more sense.

    • Larry D.
    • October 31, 2010

    I got a line on a massive mountain of pumpkins i pick up tomorrow.They may stink in a mountain of pre-rot.But i’m getting all i can! The lady said take all i can haul.I may have orange redworms soon! I call this project”Pumpkin Hill!”
    Those Orange worm candies are one of the redworms favorites!

    • Jillian
    • November 3, 2010

    Some cities are using RFID tags in their green waste cans now. I read about a man being fined for not using the green waste bin. He was composting on his own, and didn’t need it. The city didn’t care and he had to appeal the fine. What a joke!

    I live in CA so there are more ‘green options’ than in some areas. One of the local cities offers worm composting classes at $20 for an entire family. You get to make a bin and leave with a pound of red worms to boot.

    • Bernie
    • April 14, 2011

    I don’t agree with green bins. By separating garbage you are allowing hazardous wastes to be centralized somewhere and not allowing compost waste to neutralize them naturally. In gold mines etc, acid drainage is neutralized with calcium carbonates. You are also negating future generations from tapping into methane gas energy generated by mixed waste. After all crude oil originates from dead plants and animals just like coal is.

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