For most people, putting plastic, tin, and paper into blue boxes and recycling bags is second nature.
Soon, placing food scraps in a special container instead of the garbage will also become instinctive.
“Like most things, it is a matter of changing habits,” said Debbie Fleming, Solid Waste Coordinator for the Township of Langley, which launched its new Green Can campaign in May.
Through Green Can, residents who receive municipal garbage collection can put their all of their food scraps and leftovers, including meat and bones, out for pick-up in the same container as their yard trimmings.
“It is still the same yard trimmings program as before but we changed the name to Green Can to reflect that you can now add food,” Fleming said.
With approximately 20,000 households benefitting from Green Can service, thousands of pounds of compostable waste will be kept out of the garbage dump, cutting down on greenhouse gas production. “Nearly 40 per cent of all household garbage is compostable,” said Solid Waste Coordinator Robyn Cooper, noting that composting costs less than sending material to the dump. Food scraps collected from Township residents are used by The Answer Garden Products to produce commercial and residential compost.
Food scraps composting is also the now the law. On May 16, Township Council passed a bylaw that requires food scraps to be kept out of the garbage, and the Green Can program is the easiest and most convenient way to comply.
To take part in Green Can, residents who receive municipal curbside pick-up service need three things: a container for collecting food scraps right in the kitchen, an 80 litre can for curbside collection, and a decal identifying the can’s contents.
Kitchen containers can be purchased at local hardware stores or made from an empty ice cream pail with a lid. Use it to collect food scraps and leftovers, then empty it into the 80 litre container, along with yard trimmings and food-soiled napkins and paper towels, and place it at the curb for the weekly neighbourhood collection date.
Residents may want to line the kitchen container with newspaper or a kraft paper bag, both of which can go in the larger container for pick-up.
Those who already have a proper 80 litre yard trimmings container can continue using that: simply add the food scraps in with the yard trimmings.
Those who need a curbside container should purchase one that has a tight fitting lid, holds 77 or 80 litres, and weighs less than 20 kg (44 pounds) when filled. They should be made of rigid plastic, have a removable lid and two durable handles for safe emptying, and be strong enough to hold up to collection activity.
Kitchen containers used to collect food scraps should not be put out for collection.
Collection containers must be identified by the new Green Can decals or the old yard trimmings decals, and placed on the curb before 7:30am on regular garbage and yard trimming pick-up days. Make sure the decal is facing the street. Green Can decals are available at the Civic Facility at 20338 – 65 Avenue, the Operations Centre at 4700 – 224 Street, and at all Township of Langley community recreation centres.
There is no limit to the number of Green Can/yard trimming cans that can be put out for collection.
Those households that do not receive municipal collection service are encouraged to use backyard composters. While backyard composters don’t accept the variety of items that Green Cans do, they significantly reduce the amount of waste clogging garbage dumps, improve gardens, and help the environment.
For more information and tips, visit tol.ca/greencan.
For more information, contact the Engineering Division at 604-532-7300.