Plastic bags have never been allowed in the green cart so why are we still seeing them? Is it because plastic is convenient, maybe it helps keep your cart clean, or maybe you ran out of paper bags, after all it’s just one bag.
Whatever the reason is, it does not belong in the cart. Plastic doesn’t break down, leaves residue behind, and causes operational problems for our facility.
Just think, if everyone used just one plastic bag in their cart that would amount to thousands of bags coming into our facility in just one week.
Another type of bag that cause problems for our facility are those labelled “biodegradable.” Lots of people are misled by purchasing these bags thinking that they are good for the composting process. They are convenient but that’s about it. These bags can take over two years to break down and even then they leave plastic residue behind.
So, what can you use? Well, for me having three children means going through lots of cereal which means lots of empty boxes! Believe it or not, the empty boxes left behind are excellent for storing organics in. They’re free and they completely break down in the composting process. Maybe you don’t have lots of empty cereal and cracker boxes lying around but you just have to be a little creative. Why not use newspaper to wrap your vegetable peelings, and if you have something smelly you can always put it in your freezer until the day of collection. And why not put things like paper towel, paper plates, and napkins loose in your cart, save the boxes for things that smell or are messy.
Now remember, if you are hooked on bags, certified compostable bags are acceptable, however sometimes even they leave behind residue. A lot of this residue is from people tying knots at the top of the bag. If you must purchase compostable bags, please don’t tie them at the top.
Keep in mind that it’s not necessary to line your bin with anything, your materials can be placed in loose but if that doesn’t appeal to you remember paper is best! You can even line your cart with the large paper leaf and yard waste bags for times when you may have a lot of “wet waste.”
All of this talk about plastic may have you doubting our product but rest assured the compost is all screened and tested prior to selling to the public.
In the end, we have a great product that can be used to top dress your lawn, condition the soil, and get your garden ready for winter. Now I can’t guarantee that you won’t find a small piece of plastic for reasons mentioned above, however with your help I bet we can get there. Why not give it a try, I bet you’ll love it!
Not sure where something goes? Try our online sorting tool, Visit www.cjsma.ns.ca or call us at 902-667-5141. Also “like” us on facebook at “Cumberland Central Landfill”.
Thank you for helping keep Cumberland Clean.
Brenda Rioux is the waste reduction co-ordinator for the Cumberland Joint Services Management Authority