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.
See our tips below, or check out the setting up organics recycling at home presentation (PDF) for information and ideas. Minneapolis’ setting up organics recycling at home guide (PDF) has some additional good ideas, although not all of this information will apply to all programs.
Making space for your cart
If you’re participating in a program where you get a separate cart for organics recycling (like in Minneapolis and St. Louis Park), 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.
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.
Most program require that you bag your organics before placing it in your cart.
Some program require that you use BPI-certified compostable plastic bags. These 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 as they will all perform differently.
Some programs also allow you to use paper bags for your organics – paper bags are compostable!
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 for your organics, recycling and trash bin and other recycling education materials.
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 or Cedar Grove logo on them or the term “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 paper item.
If an item doesn’t have one of these logos 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.