Backyard composting has long been a successful method of redirecting waste from landfill sites. But not all municipal residents have the space to participate or gardens in which to use the compost they can generate. Curbside organics collection allows all residents to help maximize waste diversion.
In a constant quest to preserve landfill space and meet legislative waste diversion targets, municipalities across North America have started introducing curbside organics collection over the past decade. Instead of separating waste into just garbage and blue box recyclables, resident now can separate their compostable organics as well. The organics are collected separately and transformed into valuable compost for agriculture and/or soil amendments for parks and construction rather than sent to landfill as before.
The results have been astonishing. Around 40% of what was previously collected as “garbage” and had been sent to landfill is now being composted and recycled into a valuable resource. Some treatment facilities even co-generate electricity using byproducts of organic digestion!
Curbside organics are composted differently than backyard composting. Unlike a backyard composter, meats, dairy, and even sometimes pet waste can be collected and transformed into a valuable soil amendment.
Selecting and using the right containers for curbside organics collection is a key factor in maintaining community support, interest, and participation. The right containers should:
- be easy for residents to use, move, and clean
- combat odor
- look attractive and maintain a clean appearance with prolonged use
- be durable to constant manipulation and dishwasher exposure
- be resistant to crafty, adept urban wildlife like raccoons and squirrels
- facilitate rapid collection by workers, in varied collection configurations (automated, semi-automated, or manual)
In addition, most municipalities with curbside organics collection programs have seen a dramatic increase in their traditional “blue box” recycling programs as residents’ interest in waste diversion is rejuvenated by the success they see and the education initiatives that accompany new curbside organics programs.
Curbside organics collection programs do not preclude backyard composting. Residents can enjoy the benefits of directing regular backyard compostables to their FreeGarden™ EARTH backyard compost bin while still diverting plenty of materials (i.e. meat and bone plate scrapings, spoiled dairy products) to their curbside organics program. Considering combined totals over thousands of residents, this means reduced collection costs and transport fees for the municipality.