You’re ready to start organics recycling at home. Great!
Some steps you may need to take to get started include making space for your cart, figuring out your setup room-by-room, and getting the supplies you need.
Making space for your cart
If you’re participating in a program where you get a separate cart for organics recycling, determine where you will put your cart. To make space (and potentially save some money), you may be able to downsize to a smaller garbage cart.
Setting up room-by-room
Start here as this is where most organics recycling is generated, and focus first on collecting food. Spoiled food and food scraps are the most common material
in the trash and the most valuable material in the composting process, which makes them the most important material to start collecting for organics recycling.
You will generally need a collection container and compostable bags. Choose a container and location that will work for you.
If you have issues with pests or smells or want your compostable bags to last longer, consider keeping a container in the fridge or freezer for “wet” organics like fruits, vegetables and meat scraps.
Expand to other rooms
You can also collect organics in the bathroom, bedrooms and office.
Remember items like tissues, paper towels, cotton balls, hair and pet fur are accepted for organics recycling.
Getting the supplies you need
There are many options for collection containers. You can purchase simple to fancy countertop collection containers, convert an existing bin to an organics recycling bin, reuse a coffee can or ice cream pail, or use something as simple as a bowl on your kitchen counter. Choose something that works for you in your space.
Your organics must be bagged before you place them in your organics cart. Acceptable bags generally include BPI-certified compostable plastic bags. Some programs also allow you to use Kraft paper bags.
BPI-certified compostable plastic bags may be provided by your city or hauler, or they can be purchased at most retail or grocery stores or ordered online. If you are purchasing your own, you may want to try different brands to find what works for you - they will all perform differently.
Check to see what items need to be bagged for your program. Some programs allow you to put larger items like pizza boxes from delivery and paper egg cartons into your cart without being bagged.
Labels for your bins
Well-labeled bins help everyone in your household know what goes where. Order free labels and guides.
Certified compostable products
There can be a lot of confusion regarding compostability of paper and plastic plates, cups, bowls, containers and utensils.
Certified compostable products, including paper and plastic plates, bowls, cups, containers, and utensils, are accepted for organics recycling. Certified compostable products must have the BPI logo or the term “certified compostable” to be accepted.
Paper items that have a shiny or smooth surface, such as coffee cups, to-go containers, and ice cream tubs, likely have a plastic lining and are not accepted in the organics program unless they are identified as a certified compostable item.
If an item doesn’t have the BPI logo or isn't identified as certified compostable and you’re unsure whether or not it’s compostable, it’s best to put that item in the trash. This will help ensure the organics recycling is clean and free of contamination.