During winter, the contents of your green cart may freeze to the sides or bottom of the cart. Drivers performing the collection make every effort to dump the entire contents of your green cart, however, if your organics get stuck inside your cart, please be patient and wait until the next organics collection day.
Use these tips to avoid organics freezing to the cart:
- Wrap food with high moisture content in soiled boxes or newspaper
- Lining your cart will act as a barrier. Use an acceptable green cart liner such as newspaper, paper bags, soiled pizza boxes, or compostable bags layer wet organics (food waste, leaves) with dry organics (newspaper, pizza boxes)
- Add crumpled newspaper to the bottom of your cart
- Don't force the contents of the cart down
- Strain excess liquid from soups and sauces with a strainer and only place the solid pieces in the cart
- Store well-wrapped organics waste in the freezer and then place it in your cart on collection day
Check out the Winter green cart tips guide for more information on how to stay unstuck this winter.
In 2017, the City of Calgary will open a state of the art compost facility that will process their green cart material. This in-vessel processing facility will reach temperatures of at least 55 degrees Celsius. This step is important because it kills off pathogens like e-coli and salmonella that might be found in materials like pet waste.
This facility is only accepting material from the City of Calgary. Other municipalities are not able to haul their material there.
Currently, Airdrie takes our green cart material to a facility that uses a windrow process which does not reach the temperatures necessary to break down pathogens. Adding pet waste to our program would compromise the quality of the end product and so we are not able to accept pet waste in our green carts. That being said we recognize the benefit of being able to place pet waste in the organics carts and are looking into other opportunities that may allow us to accept pet waste in the future.
A liner is not required for use in your kitchen pail however, if you do choose to use a liner you may use:
- Paper bags
- Compostable bags
Compostable bags are available at most grocery and home hardware retailers in Airdrie. Biodegradable bags are not the same as compostable bags
|Compostable bags||Biodegradable or oxo-biodegradable bags|
|Made from a food by-product such as corn starch and break down into compost||Are made from plastic|
Are usually opaque and feel softer than plastic bags
|Plastic bags prevent the flow of air, which is required during the composting process|
|Guaranteed to completely break down during the composting process||Break apart into small plastic pieces, which do not completely decompose|
|Have a certified compostable logo||Diminishes the quality of the finished compost|
If you choose to use a compostable bag, ensure it has one of these symbols:
Thinking ahead: meal planning and recyclable packaging
Before the organics program was started by the city, we were throwing away a full 70L garbage bag every week. We already recycled everything we could at the East Side depot initially, then through a local business that offered very reasonable curbside pick-up, then again through the East Side Depot. Once the organics pick up program started we really embraced the challenge of reducing out waste even further. The only things you will ever find in our garbage waste are items included on the list as garbage (cat litter, Kleenex, q-tips etc).
One of the the most impactful things we do that is very helpful in eliminating waste is meal planning so that we don't have any excess food in our fridge that ends up spoiled and unusable. Buying our meat in bulk also helps keep waste down as it all comes in compostable wrapping, not Styrofoam packaging. And buying local produce seasonally to freeze throughout the winter.
We estimate we have eliminated our waste down to approximately 1/3 of the volume of what it was prior to the start of the organics program.
A new use for binder clips
A simple solution to keep the compostable bag from falling down into the kitchen catcher - using binder clips!
50% reduction in garbage
A great story from a resident about a 50% reduction in garbage even when using a composter and mulching grass.
Just wanted to share my experience with the organics program. When it was first announced I didn't see much use for it as we already recycled in our household and I have two composters of my own for food and yard organics. We have always been able to keep under two bags of garbage per week.
I am happy to report that there are lots of things that I can't compost that end up in the organics bin instead of the garbage. Table scraps, meat, bones, fat, tree branches, pizza boxes, food wrappers, paper napkins, coffee cups, etc. all end up in the green bin. While I still keep vegetable peels, coffee grounds, leaves, etc. for my own compost for fertilizer for my garden boxes and flower beds, there is lots of material that I cannot compost. I have always mulched my grass to keep the nutrients on the lawn. I am happy to report that we are consistently down to one bag of garbage per week with the organics program.
From reading the Garbage Audit I learned that pet hair and dryer lint can go in the organics bin.
Waste & Recycling