Green Cart collection do’s and don’ts

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Waste Reduction with Brenda Rioux

The other day we had a resident call wondering why their green cart wasn’t collected. We started with our routine questions; did you have your materials set out on time?  Did you have the right materials set out?  Was your material sorted properly?  Was there a rejection sticker?   After talking to the resident for a few minutes, we discovered that they were using their green cart as a garbage container.  Although the resident was sorting they did not have their materials placed out for collection properly.  The resident asked why their cart can’t be used to store garbage.  Well there are a few reasons why we don’t allow residents to store their garbage in the green cart.  First of all green carts are for organic materials only, and secondly no plastics are permitted in the green cart.  Garbage in the green cart causes operational problems in our compost facility and as we all know, plastic bags do not break down and the end result is compost with plastic mixed in it. 

 At the end of the day, we gave the resident the following suggestions:

1) Place your garbage bags on top of the cart’s closed lid.  This way the garbage is off of the ground and the hauler can clearly see the garbage on top; 

2) Purchase or build a garbage can;

3) Cover your garbage with an old blanket. 

Now we also receive a lot of questions from residents asking if you can use plastic bags to store your organics and the simple answer is NO.  However, we do allow residents and businesses to use either compostable or paper bags to store their organic materials. Compostable bags break down quickly and leave little to no residue.  If you are looking to purchase compostable bags for your organic materials make sure the box has “compostable” stamped on it.  There are a lot of bags out there that are labelled biodegradable but these bags do not break down nearly as quickly and do not work well in our facility.   I will point out that it is not necessary for you to use compostable or paper bags, however some people like using them as they help keep your cart clean. Another option is to use empty cereal boxes to store food waste, or why not use old newspapers and flyers to wrap your food waste; they work great and they are free!   

Below are a few tips to help ensure that your green bin at the end of your driveway is collected:

1)    Make sure it is out on time- 6:30 a.m. in the County and 7:00 a.m. in Parrsboro, Amherst, & Springhill;

2)    Make sure your materials are sorted properly;

3)    Make sure that there is no plastic or garbage in your cart;

4)    Make sure your pets are tied.

Not sure where something goes?  Call us at 667-5141 or check out our website at

Be Sort Smart!  Recycle and Compost.


Brenda Rioux is the waste reduction co-ordinator for the Cumberland Joint Services Management Authority. The CJSMA column appears monthly in the Amherst News.

Organizations: Cumberland Joint Services Management Authority, Amherst News

Geographic location: Parrsboro

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Recent comments

  • Doug P.
    February 28, 2014 - 11:12

    It is too bad there is absolutely zero evidence that sorting garbage saves anything other than money for the waste removal companies who get your free sorting labor and tax money at the same time. These convoluted separation and collection schemes with ever growing do' and don'ts are nothing more than unnecessary make work projects for residents who already pay way too much for waste removal services. Waste separation is a false environmental sham with the taxpayers getting used like presorting employes in a forced free labor "arrangement". Just try to undo it, the people who benefit from this scam have you around the throat, just like they like it.