City of Ottawa expands Orgaworld green bin contract by $626K annually

Green bins
(Photo by Peter Kovessy)

A revised contract for Ottawa’s green bin organics disposal service will cost the city an extra $626,000 annually, adding dog waste and plastic bags to the scheme while skirting further legal tie-ups with the provider.

Council approved a new deal with Orgaworld Canada on Wednesday.

The city’s existing 20-year contract, which began in 2010, costs roughly $9 million for organics removal service.

The new contract would cost $9.8 million per year, factoring in costs related to the extended life of the city’s Trail Road landfill. A report from city staff says that’s cheaper than exercising the contract’s existing provision to include dog waste and plastic bags in pick up, which would cost an extra $3.5 million annually.

The estimated cost to taxpayers is pegged at an extra 15 cents per month, per household. Orgaworld will also spend $9.4 million on facility upgrades.

The city believes allowing plastic bags will encourage more residents to use the green bin service by reducing the so-called “yuck factor.”

The City of Ottawa’s relationship with Orgaworld has been, in the words of the report, “marred by conflict.” The two parties have been locked in legal action for years over issues such as whether Orgaworld would process all leaf and yard waste. A scathing 2014 report from Ottawa’s auditor general recommended city staff consider ways to alter the contract or make an early exit.

The recent report considered options including terminating the contract and taking on a new service provider, but concluded that each alternative had a higher price tag and would likely result in further litigation.

The renegotiated contract would end all ongoing legal action between the two parties. It would also see the 80,000 tonnes “put-or-pay” provision, which the city considered unreasonable in review, reduced to 75,000 tonnes.

The city expects to have the revised contract signed by May 1 with expanded service implemented by mid-2019.