​Using the green bin can be a real chore, but it doesn't have to be. Use these tips make composting an a-peel-ing part of your routine.

 

How to Separate Your Food Scraps

Follow these steps to separate and recycle your food scraps.

  1. Put your food scraps into a small container in your kitchen.
  2. Empty your small container into your green bin (or your building's green bin).
  3. For detached homes, set out your green bin on the morning of your collection day.

 

Make It Part of Your Routine

Food scraps are different than other recyclables. They can be wet or smelly, and often a special trip is required to empty your kitchen catcher into the green bin. Whether you live in a single-family home (and have to brave the elements to get to your outdoor green bin) or in an apartment or condo (where the recycling room is in the basement or an alley behind the building), emptying your kitchen catcher often requires a special trip.   

But it doesn't have to be a chore: try to integrate your compost trips in with other household routines. For example:

  • Empty your food scraps when you take out your blue bin or other recycling.
  • When you're doing laundry, consider emptying your food scraps between loads, such as when you're transferring your clothes from the washer to dryer.

Use A Leak-Proof Bag

Avoid having to make a special trip to your green bin or your building's recycling area. Use a leak-proof bag to line your kitchen catcher so you can toss the bag and its contents, and go on your way.

Cellulose-lined bags are a great option, as they can go directly in the green bin with your food scraps. They are available at many hardware and grocery stores.

Another option is to use a plastic bag to line your kitchen container; however, the plastic bag will have to be emptied into the green bin and then thrown in the garbage.

Plastic and plastic-lined bags, even those labelled "biodegradable" or "compostable," should not go in the green bin. They can cause operational problems, may not break down properly during processing, and may contaminate the finished compost. Leave them out to be safe, unless specifically allowed by your municipality or service provider.

Find more ideas for lining your green bin.


 Download a "No Plastic Bags" sticker sheet for your building's green bin

 

Small Space Storage

Having separate bags, boxes, and bins for garbage and recycling can take up a lot of space. Here are some ways to save on square footage:

  • Use smaller containers and empty them more often.
  • Keep your food scraps bin in your fridge or freezer.
  • Store garbage and recycling in under-utilized spaces, like under your kitchen sink or a closet floor.
  • Instead of having unique bins for non-organic recyclables (paper, cardboard, containers, glass), put all these items in one bin and sort when you take them to your recycling area.
  • Go vertical. Look for stackable bins, use a small shelving system, or buy a custom caddy for your garbage and recycling.

 

What About My In-Sink Food Grinder?

Separating food scraps from garbage for composting or processing at a dedicated facility is the best way to manage organic waste. In Metro Vancouver, it is more cost effective to collect and process food waste that has been separated into green bins at its source (i.e. in homes and businesses) than to treat ground food waste at a wastewater treatment plant. In-sink food grinders and similar technologies:

  • do not recycle or recover nutrients.
  • cannot take all the organics that you need to separate from your garbage (such as cooking grease, fibrous foods, large amounts of starchy food, etc.)
  • often rely on a lot of clean water to move material, which is not an efficient use of treated drinking water.

Metro Vancouver does not encourage the use of residential food grinders and supports the composting of food waste through organics collection programs.