Authors: Registered Dietitians
(HealthCastle.com) You try to eat healthy foods. Why not dispose of the scraps, peels, rinds, and so on in a way that’s healthy for the earth? If you live in a house or duplex in the City of Vancouver, the kind of food scraps you can put in your green yard trimmings cart has recently changed - for the better. The City of Vancouver has expanded its food scraps composting program so that all food scraps and food waste are now allowed. That means no more separating out meat and fish. In fact, you can even now add pizza boxes to your green cart.
Easy Ways to Prepare Food Scraps
I live in Port Moody, in which the food scraps system has been in place for a while. When the program first started, I was lost! We were told the food scraps could be directly tossed in the bin. I knew I could have done that, but I didn’t. I was so used to tossing a plastic bag in my garbage bin. The thought of a filthy garbage bin with bones and meat loosely hanging around just didn’t sit well with me. So, I’ve tried a couple of things...
- Line a small bin with a paper bag. The key is to find a SMALL container. I’ve tried it, but it failed. Part of the reason I failed was that the container I used was not small enough. Scraps stayed in a bin for more than 2 days emit odor and you end up with a wet paper bag. Plus, paper bags are pretty costly.
- Wrap your scraps with newspaper. So far I’m happy with this method and the poster above illustrates the steps. I found some take-out containers with tight lids. I would toss scraps in it throughout the day and close the container tightly. When the container is full (usually after one meal), I would dump the scraps onto some newspaper, then wrap my scraps like how I would wrap a gift. I would either take this newly wrapped scraps directly out to the bin right away, or place it in another medium-sized paper bag. The advantage of storing them in another paper bag is that I can take the paper bag out to the bin whenever I get a chance. And the garbage bin is maintained relatively clean and odour-free.
- Some also recommend sprinkling your scraps with baking soda to eliminate odour, or if you’re not going to empty it daily keep it in the freezer. I never tried these two tips. Sorry, I don’t let any garbage go into my freezer, period.
- Don’t use plastic bags, even ones made from biodegradable plastic, because the facility that processes the yard trimmings and food scraps cannot handle plastic. Plastic bags picked up from yard trimmings carts could result in a whole truckload of material being sent to the landfill instead of being composted.
Green cart contents are picked up every 2 weeks in all areas of the city except Riley Park and the Sunset area, which get weekly pickup. Check your collection schedule.
If you live in apartment and you want to compost your food scraps rather than send them to the landfill, you can get a subsidized worm composter bin (including worms) from City Farmer for $25.
What Can You Put In Your Green Bin
- Meat, fish, bones
- Cooked food and oily food
- Dairy, pasta, noodles, rice, or bread
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Newspaper, or paper bags used to collect food scraps
- Leaves and grass clippings
- Weeds, plants and flowers
- Short branches and prunings
Tell Us: Do you have any tips on food scraps preparation to share?