Despite the fact that most NDGers have had their brown food waste bins for years, some residents are still not participating in the collection. They might be intimidated by the idea of sorting their food scraps. The truth is, the food waste collection only changes the bin used to dispose of waste — not the waste itself. In other words, all those food scraps and soiled paper bits were still at the curb before the program rolled out; they were just in garbage bags instead of a brown bin.

I live in an apartment building with more than 9 units, and thus it is not served by the food waste collection program. I see all of the problems that residents complain about, except in my building, the bad smells, the maggots, and the garbage juice are in the garbage bins. If you don’t make a little effort, any container used will face the same problems.

I see that there are a few great advantages to diverting your food from the garbage with the food waste program:
You can freeze your food waste leftovers. Most of us only have a little bit of food waste to put out each week, and thus the little beige pails that the borough distributed can easily fit inside a freezer. When you freeze your food waste, there are no smells, no flies, and no garbage juice.

Here are some tips for reducing odours when participating in the food waste collection:

1. Seal it. The CDN-NDG borough provided all participating households with a designated kitchen pail for food scraps. Keep the lid tightly closed at all times to prevent odors and nuisance pests like fruit flies;

2. Bag it. While it is not required to use bags, using perfumed compostable bags will reduce odours. You can also wrap your food in newspaper, which should also reduce the smell;

3. Freeze it. Nothing can stink when it is frozen. If you can’t fit all of your food waste inside the freezer, consider freezing meat and dairy scraps as they are often the smelliest;

4. Sprinkle it. If your kitchen pail or brown bin smells, clean it often and sprinkle a bit of baking soda inside to neutralize the smell;

5. Get smart about storage. Store your brown bin in a cool, dry place, and keep it out of direct sunlight. Ensure that the lid is locked and you shouldn’t have problems with flies, rodents and other pests;

6. Keep it clean. Rince your brown bin with warm water and a biodegradable detergent after each use to deter pests and neutralize odors;

7. Treat the lid. If you notice flies or other critters around your compost, smear the brown bin’s lid with Vicks Vap-O-Rub®, citronella, WD-40, or tea tree essential oils (which are natural insect repellents) or add moth balls (known to deter rodents and other animals);

8. Curb it. While it might seem like a good idea to wait until your brown bin is full before setting it out for pick-up, that can give insects and other pests more time to breed. Place your bin on the curb before each pick-up, even if it is not full.

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By Nikki Schiebel