I've talked before about how Nova Scotia really does everything to make composting and recycling pretty darn easy. While we lived in BC we had a garden composting (ok, the landlord of our basement apartment had one) so I do remember the beauty of non-municipal composting.
Basically, it's so easy that I really don't understand the excuses given by local Haligonians. You'd be surprised how many people and businesses simply ignore the provincial *law* mandating composting and recycling.
Since sometimes I read about how many individuals say they would recycle, but living in the city-apartment-takeyourpick prevents them, I thought I'd share how Andrew and I have figured out our urban recycle-compost system. :)
First off, the composting. So many people assume that having a kitchen compost would stink... but with the proper container it really shouldn't (and even without!). We have lots of friends who simply use an old icecream container lined with a paper bag, or a bucket. But... we really don't empty our compost every day. Mostly because we're lazy. So, essentially we decided to suck up the extra few bucks every once in a while and buy a nice compost container that clicks shut and some leak-proof compostable bags.
Seriously, as long as the compost bin is shut there is zero smell. The only thing that sucks is when we wait wayyyy too long to empty it. Then it's gross and disgusting.
The city provides every.single.apartment building with an array of large bins for pick up. Our apartment has: an organics bin, a paper recycling bin, a blue bag (plastics, glass, cartons) bin and cardboard bin.
Our apartment's recycling spot. Two bins on right: paper and plastic, bin on left is corrugated cardboard only.
How do we empty our compost? Walk down the hall, two flights of stairs, out front, precariously lift the lid, DONOTINHALETHROUGHNOSE, and dump dump dump. We mostly take turns on this chore- since it's pretty gross (mostly because like I said, we're lazy and it gets disgusting). Easy!Our organics bin- this sucker gets STINKY in the summer.Recycling is a bit more complicated actually. Halifax has strict rules on how to separate recyclable materials and what can and can't be accepted. We basically have three 'blue bag' systems. (please disregard mess...lol)
1. Old garbage bin turned blue bag container. This is where milk cartons (or any carton) #1, #2 plastic and glass live. We try to keep plastics to a minimum, so this bag only needs to be emptied (for our two person home) every two-three weeks.
2. Random blue bag. This one is actually for the 'dry organics'. Halifax requires that any regular cardboard (such as cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls) be composted. Instead of trying to collect a pile, combined with our 'laissé faire' attitude, we just collect them in the blue bag and periodically do a combo- wet-dry compost run.
3. Regular paper blue bin. This gets emptied every few months or so, since we try not to waste a lot of paper.
We've also been collecting caps in an old tupperware container. They aren't accepted in regular plastic recycling, but Aveda will take them and send to special recycling facilities. I've been collecting for months now and need to make my first trip to the Aveda store downtown.
Since we started all this recycling and composting our actual 'garbage' bag has greatly decreased in size and there is no smell at all. We go through a small kitchen garbage bag every two weeks or so, depending.
That's it! So easy, I have no idea why anyone in Halifax wouldn't recycle or compost. After chatting with HRM's Organic's rep at the last 'eco-fair', I realized that although many businesses claim that they are exempt from the entire affair- they are in fact not... and are breaking a whole host of by-laws. Unfortunately, it's near impossible for HRM to track these infractions... so they get away with it.
I make a point of asking businesses where their recycling-composting bins are... and commenting on their answer. Annoying? Hah, well businesses tend to respond best to customer feedback. There's mine. :) The sign on our garbage bin... so fantastic.
How's your system? If you don't have municipal composting, would you consider vermicomposting (wormy goodness?). I can say that I most definitely would...
article and photograph copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com