Archive for the ‘Garbage’ Category

Expansion Of Garbage Incineration

- January 12th, 2015

Just a quick post directing you to a New York Times story I found interesting over the weekend on the growth of garbage incineration in the U.S.

My own piece over the weekend had an interview with the president of the Canadian Resource Recovery Council (CRRC) partly talking about whether Ottawa council should consider waste-to-energy incineration.

As the Times piece points out, incineration is controversial for all the environmental reasons you would expect.

But as John Foden of the CRRC told me, these “aren’t your grandfather’s incinerators,” and modern incinerators have already come to Ontario.

Garbage incineration is something our council will likely consider along with a bunch of other waste-to-energy technologies, and it could be a hot debate. Some councillors at an August 2013 environment committee meeting had no interest in pursuing incineration, with former councillor Maria McRae even saying she would have to leave Ottawa if there was an incinerator here.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at

Garbage Tree At Petrie Island

- October 23rd, 2014


Orléans Coun. Bob Monette sent me this picture of him checking out a tree that fell at Petrie Island recently.

Check out the garbage hanging from the bottom.

Peculiar findings of garbage at Petrie have been documented before and it’s still shocking when the evidence of a former dump surfaces from time to time.

The dump on a portion of Petrie closed about 50 years ago.

I was talking to Monette for this election-related garbage story and he made the point about how important it is that the city avoids opening a new landfill. “Just because you cover the garbage doesn’t mean it goes away,” he said.

There’s your proof.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

On Thumbs, Trash And Running The Planning Committee

- October 3rd, 2014

Six mayoral candidates show their thumbs during a Yes-No segment of the mayoral debate in the Glebe Thursday night.

The community associations that organized the debate in the Glebe last night had an interesting way to burn through several questions within a minute. They only allowed a thumbs-up or thumbs-down answer to what, in some cases, turned out to be complex questions on things like infrastructure, campaign donations and development. I wish I videotaped this portion because it was hard to keep up with the responses. I know Mayor Jim Watson’s camp didn’t know this would be part of the format and Watson said he wasn’t a fan of that segment.

What more can I say about the debate? It was all over the place. Watson and Mike Maguire didn’t get enough time to talk about their platforms because there were four other candidates, but at least those guys showed up. Good on them. And heck, it was fun after covering several debates to have a bit of a circus. Not great, though, for Glebe residents trying to decide how to vote.

Candidates pushing weekly trash collection in the summer should dumpster-dive for another $1 million, maybe more.

Staff have crunched the numbers and the word inside City Hall is that the cost to collect garbage each week in July and August would be $4 million. The April 2011 estimate provided by staff was $3 million for June, July and August.

More candidates are jumping on the weekly trash train, including Somerset hopeful Lili Weeman (love the picture, by the way).

Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder chaired a doozy of a planning committee yesterday, with Alta Vista Coun. Peter Hume being away. The Windmill Developments proposal for the Domtar lands was on the agenda with about 50 people signed up to speak. It was emotional with occasional outbursts from the audience, a request for a prayer song, an impromptu call for a moment of silence from a delegate and one man who refused to step down from the microphone. Harder was good, though. She kept tight to the five-minute speaking limit, even for Windmill’s Jonathan Westeinde. That could be a preview of next term’s planning committee since Harder is near the top (if not at the top) of the list for the chairperson’s job.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Be Careful When Meeting With Garbage Contractor, Councillors Told

- April 7th, 2014

Behind the scenes, city clerk and solicitor Rick O’Connor has felt the need to speak up about meetings councillors might be having with one of the city’s garbage collection contractors.

Miller Waste has contracts for two of the five collection zones in the city. The two zones cover areas just south of the core and they fan out across the rural south. So, the company is interested in meeting with councillors to see how the services are going.

Here’s one of the concerns O’Connor has. Miller Waste meets with councillors about its collection service, and oh by the way, let’s talk about that waste processing facility we want to build in the east end. That last part would be lobbying and should be recorded as such.

(The city’s lobbyist registry shows three entries, from what I can see, related to the Capital Region Resource Recovery Centre that Miller Waste and Taggart Construction want to build.)

There are other issues, too: Providing Miller Waste with personal information about a resident who has been complaining about trash pickup; Not properly recording the complaints so managers can monitor contract performance; and, potentially getting in the way of the city pursuing damages against Miller Waste if there’s an issue of contract non-compliance.

Not to say councillors can’t meet with Miller Waste. But O’Connor just wants to make sure councillors understand the legal issues.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Cleaning Litter Costs Taxpayers Millions

- April 7th, 2014

More than 600 cigarette butts littered the ground along Elgin St. between Gilmour and MacLaren streets on Sunday, April 6, 2014 and as more snow melts the problem will only get worse. JESSIE ARCHAMBAULT/Ottawa Sun/QMI AGENCY

Our front-page story today by Jessie Archambault on cigarette butt litter reminded me of a column a couple of years ago by Anthony Furey.

Pretty bang on, I think.

You really don’t realize how much people litter until spring when all the grossness is revealed during the snowmelt.

Here’s that Furey column…

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Are litterbugs lazy, stupid, inconsiderate or all three?


The city is spending $5 million a year picking up the garbage residents leave lying around. How can this be? I asked. Surely you’re not all such scofflaws that you’re wilfully dirtying up our city. It dawned on me that maybe many of you just don’t know what litter is. So out of love for my tarnished city, I offer you a crash course on trash I always see lying about that maybe you don’t realize is litter:


Smokers must think they operate in a different reality than the rest of us. We’ve all seen it : Someone finishes a smoke, tosses it to the ground, stamps it out (if they even do that), then just walk away. But I’m sure if you ever called them out on it, they’d give you a big FU. Would they be as ballsy to respond so if you called them out for throwing away a pop can? Probably not. So why the self-righteousness? It takes up to 15 years for a butt to decompose. They’re litter. Oh, and by the way, so is the plastic wrappings people toss to the wind and the whole damn package you often see discarded on the bus or on a park bench.


Gum on the sidewalk or under a park bench takes times and money to scrape off. But people think if they just spit out their gum it’s small enough it won’t matter. Well what if thousands of people do it regularly? It adds up.


Bank machines are always surrounded by discarded bank receipts. This one is especially irksome because it’s blatantly unnecessary. First of all, most machines give you the option of whether you even get one printed or not. Second, there’s always a garbage right at the machine for you to place the receipt in. And why on earth would you want to leave your account number and balance lying around for people to see?


People who are obsessed with their pets want animals to be given greater legal rights than humans, but also want their animals exempt from abiding by all laws. This includes dog poo. I don’t care how wonderful your dog is, his poo isn’t some magic elixir to charm the neighbourhood with. It needs to be picked up. The absolute worst is when someone does pick up the poo in a plastic bag and then just leaves the plastic bag lying around in the park or on the sidewalk. Right, because leaving a plastic bag lying around isn’t littering.


Not all food items compost quickly. And even if they do, that doesn’t mean leaving them in the middle of a park garden isn’t littering. It actually takes a banana peel two years to decompose. Put your food waste in the bin with the rest of the garbage.


The “free stuff ” box you place out on the sidewalk in front of your house is litter. It’s garbage. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be putting it out there. You all know what I’m talking about. When you pass by a house and there’s a cardboard box with the word “free” written in black Sharpie. Whenever I pass by one I always see the same stupid items that no one would ever want: A child’s place mat with stains on it, a copy of a Windows DOS programming manual from the early 1980s and a rusted metal can opener. If you put these out on any day other than garbage day, you’re littering. If you don’t bring in the box after it’s become clear no one wants your crap, you’re littering.

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Take these lessons to heart and maybe we’ll save ourselves a bit of coin and pretty up the old town while we’re at it.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at