If you are living in a residential building (i.e., apartment or condo) you either have started separating your organic waste, have been warned/threatened by your ecofreak neighbour that you have to separate organic waste, or you are still trying to figure out what organic waste actually is... No matter where you are, this article wants to help you get to where you need to be to meet Metro Vancouver's new organic waste separation bylaws. Let's get started:
A Quick Background
As of January 1st 2015, Metro Vancouver homes (including apartments and condos), commercial buildings, and industrial/institutional buildings will have to separate organic waste from their current waste stream. That means no food scraps can go in your trash--another reason for Moms to make sure the kids eat their broccoli. The city will begin inspection of waste loads from January 1st, 2015 until June 30th, 2015 to detect organic waste that is not being separated. Fines will be enforced from July 1st, 2015 until December 31st, 2015 for those who fail to separate organic waste.
What is Organic Waste?
Organic waste is almost anything that you throw out that can decompose in a relatively short amount of time. I say 'almost' because Metro Vancouver does have certain exceptions to what can be disposed of as organic waste. It may be easier to describe organic waste in terms of what you can actually throw into your organic waste bin. Here is a list of what you can throw into your organic waste bin, as per the City of Vancouver's website:
Phew, thats a lot of stuff! And here is what you cannot throw into your organic waste bin:
I have an organic waste bin, now what?
Well pat yourself on the shoulder, because the world just got more green! The organic waste bin does not have to be a major headache if you take the right steps when setting up your in house 'separation system'. Here are some tips on how to deal with organic waste disposal:
1) Type of organic waste bin:
Metro Vancouver does provide organic waste bins to you, however, maybe it just does not work for your living or working space.
Find a bin that fits your area. If you have limited counter space in your kitchen, it may be helpful to use a smaller organic waste bin. You can purchase a different size bin from a local shop in your town, or search online. Or, if you are feeling like a do-it-yourselfer, use an old tupperware container.
2) Placement of the bin:
Where you put your bin may make all the difference in the world. Placing it on the ground may not seem too appealing if you dispose of your organic waste 3 or 4 times a day. Also, keeping the bin too close to your 'relax area' may cause unwanted smells to linger over. Some of us at Compy have found that it helps to keep the organic waste bin next to your kitchen sink. Here, you can dispose of your organic waste before placing your dishes in the sink. And, its at an easy height to get to--no bending over!
You could also place your organic waste bin outside on a patio or in the backyard. Though this may be more out of the way, it will keep smells from lingering indoors. Beware, if you have had squirrels, crows, or raccoons in your yard, they may be attracted to the scent of the organic waste bin and knock over the bin while they rummage through looking for something to eat. This can lead to a not so fun cleaning project.
3) Stopping harsh odours from the bin:
Another issue you may run into are harsh odours that come from the organic waste as it starts to decompose. There are a few ways to stop excess smells from coming from the bin. First, make sure you do not completely seal the lid of your compost bin. Having air enter the bin and flow through the organic waste will help the organic waste to smell less. Some bins provided by Metro Vancouver cities have holes in the top of the lid to allow for air to enter.
Second, use Compy, an organic waste odour absorber. Compy helps absorb the odours that come from the organic waste. It does this with carbon 'chips' that absorb excess moisture and balance the organic waste. To be specific, the micro-organisms that eat your organic waste produce the harsh odours that you smell. These harsh odours are a result of an unbalanced diet for the micro-organisms. Compy helps balance that diet with carbon, so your micro-organisms do not create harsh odours. Give Compy a try, if it doesn't work for you, they will gladly return your money!
Separating your organic waste does not have to be a headache. Hopefully these tips and suggestions will help make your transition to organic waste disposal easier and more enjoyable. Remember, separating your organic waste is great for you, your city, and our planet. If you have any tips, tricks, or questions on separating organic waste, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you, and so would other readers!