5 Green Cart Myths Debunked

You know composting is environmentally friendly and reduces landfill waste. You also know your Green Cart is perfect for kitchen scraps, yard trimmings, and food-soiled paper, making composting a breeze. But if you’re still hesitant to compost because you’re unsure of what goes in the Green Cart or because you’ve heard some common compost myths, read on to get the facts.

Myth: It doesn’t matter what I throw into the Green Cart. Doesn’t it all end up in the same place, anyway?

Unlike garbage, a facility in Abbotsford processes Green Cart waste. This local facility blends the organic waste to create soil products that up end on store shelves, and in gardens, across Langley.

While the Green Cart is an easy way to dispose of food scraps, yard trimmings, and food-soiled paper products, it’s important to remember that the Green Cart is for organic waste only. When items that don’t break down completely end up in the Green Cart, it contaminates the load. These contaminants can make their way back into local gardens and yards, by way of pieces of plastic or garbage too tiny to fish out of the compost during processing. 

Myth: I thought organics naturally compost in a landfill. Why do I need to separate my organics from other waste?

Landfill waste decomposes slowly, without access to oxygen. This slow decomposition results in the waste releasing methane gas, a powerful greenhouse gas with 20 times the impact of carbon dioxide.

Compost facilities rotate organic materials periodically, exposing new materials to the surface.  Turning the waste helps incorporate oxygen-rich materials into the centre of the pile. This oxygen-rich waste releases carbon dioxide, which reduces the effects our waste has on the environment.

Using your Green Cart can further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Local compost facilities can process Green Cart waste, resulting in less garbage trucked to landfills outside of the region, cutting down on vehicle emissions.

Myth: I know “compostable” and “biodegradable” plastics aren’t allowed, but I found these special items marked as “accepted in municipal collection.” They’re perfect for using in my Green Cart!

We always appreciate when companies take an extra step to make their products more sustainable. Nowadays, there are many bags, coffee pods, and wraps marketed as “accepted in municipal collection.” However, many of these types of products are available for Canada-wide resale, and as municipal composting programs vary by region, they’re not necessarily suited for every municipality’s organics collection or Green Cart.

Even though these products claim to be “accepted in municipal collection,” they don’t break down completely during the composting process. This means composting facilities across Metro Vancouver, including the facility we use here at the Township, aren’t able to process these products. Remember, only use your Green Cart for food scraps, yard trimmings, and food-soiled paper products.

Myth: A separate cart for organic waste, like food scraps, is going cause smells and attract pests.

The Township’s Green Cart program collects organic waste every week. This frequent collection schedule reduces the concern of smells and pests. Consider this: If you’re not putting food scraps in your Green Cart, you’re likely placing them in the garbage. Since garbage is only collected every other week, what would be more likely to smell more come collection day – your garbage or your Green Cart?

Keeping your Green Cart tidy will also help reduce any unwanted odours or mess. Use the following tips to keep your Cart in tip-top shape:

  • Line the bottom with several layers of newspaper
  • Layer food scraps under yard trimmings
  • Keep the lid closed at all times
  • Sprinkle the contents with baking soda or powdered garden lime
  • Store it in the shade
  • Place it outside every week for collection, even if it isn’t full
  • Rinse it out regularly

Myth: I don’t need a Green Cart, I already compost at home.

First, thanks for backyard composting! Backyard composting is a great, environmentally friendly way to dispose of fruit and vegetable scraps. Even if you backyard compost, though, it's best to use a Green Cart for cooked food scraps, fish, meat, and bones. Don’t forget – you can also use your Green Cart for greasy pizza boxes, napkins, and paper towels!

Looking for more composting tips and tricks? Visit tol.ca/greencart.