Township discovering too many contaminants in green carts

Only food scraps, yard trimmings and food-soiled paper products can go in organics bin

The Township of Langley is sending a reminder to residents to properly sort items before placing them into green carts.

It only takes a bit of time and knowledge to properly sort organic waste. But when green carts are contaminated with items that don’t belong, the results are costly. To avoid the expense, the Township is asking residents to review what goes in their green carts and what doesn’t.

“Green carts are only to be used for food scraps, yard trimmings, and food-soiled paper products such as napkins, paper towels and pizza boxes,” said Township Solid Waste Co-ordinator Christopher Combe.

More common contaminants are items such as plastic bags and wrap, even those sold as compostable or bio-degradable, and items like dirt, plastic containers, and other recyclables. Garden rakes and lawnmower parts are some of the more unique contaminants that have been discovered.

“These objects certainly do not belong in green carts, which are for organic waste only,” Combe said.

A full list of what can and can’t be placed in Green Carts can be found at

READ MORE: Tracking trash in the Township

Residents can use their blue boxes to recycle material like plastic containers, and bring Styrofoam and plastic bags to local recycling depots.

“By placing organics in green carts we help save space in landfills and reduce the effects of harmful greenhouse gases that are produced when organics rot in a landfill,” Combe said.

Organics have been banned from transfer stations, and Township residents are required to separate them from their garbage under Solid Waste Management Bylaw 2016 No. 5200.

When collecting green cart waste, crews check for visible contamination and will tag carts and leave unacceptable loads behind for residents to remove contaminants. However, they only get a snapshot of what is in the carts, and even tiny objects such as stickers from fruits and vegetables are a form of contamination.

Material collected from the Township’s green cart program is then sent for composting, and used to create soil and garden products that are sold at local stores. If contaminants are not kept out of the organic waste, impurities can make their way back into local yards.

Not only is contamination harmful to the environment, it hits Township residents in the pocketbook, as the composting facility charges the municipality a higher rate when it must remove unacceptable material from the organics.

“We are asking residents to review the do’s and don’ts of green cart use, and to do their part to separate their waste,” Combe said. “What residents put in their green carts can ultimately affect the soil they purchase as part of their gardening routine.”

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