All single-family homes in Okotoks have green carts for organics curbside collection. All food, pet and yard waste are accepted in the green cart for weekly collection (bi-weekly November to April).
A friendly reminder that your green (organics) carts will now be picked up bi-weekly from November through to the end of April! Please note that your blue (recycling) and black (garbage) carts will continue to be picked up weekly all year round! The green cart is collected bi-weekly throughout the winter season because there will be little to no yard waste.
Green carts and kitchen pails were delivered to all single family households in October 2016.
What Goes in Your Green Cart
All food waste can go in the green cart, including many materials that can’t be used for backyard composting:
- Plate Scrapings
- Meat, Fish, Shellfish and Bones
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Bread, Noodles, Rice, Beans and Grains
- Eggshells and Dairy Products
- Jams, Sauces, Salad Dressings and Cooking Oil
- Pastries, Cookies, Cakes and Muffins
- Nuts, Seeds, Chips, Popcorn and Candy
- Food Soiled Paper, Paper Plates and Napkins
- Coffee Filters and Tea Bags
- Pet Fur, Hair or Feathers
- Animal Bedding (e.g. from pet cages)
- Wooden Popsicle Sticks and Toothpicks
What Can’t Go in Your Green Cart
- Plastic Bags
- Food or Beverage Packaging
- Diapers or Sanitary Wipes
Why Green Carts?
Green carts have proven to be effective in diverting food waste from garbage. On a Town-wide basis, that would translate into 1,000 of tonnes of annual organic waste being turned into useful compost for our gardens, parks and farms instead of taking up valuable space in the landfill.
By using your green cart, you can:
- Reduce dependence on our landfills.
- Reduce greenhouse gases.
- Turn food and yard waste into useful compost.
Wonder what happens to your food scraps and yard waste once it’s collected from the green cart?
From start to finish, it will take approximately 60 days to produce nutrient-rich Category A compost .
Although the science is similar to backyard composting, here’s an in-depth look at how industrial scale composting is different and why you can compost so many more materials with your Green Cart.
Two varieties of compost
A composting facility will produce two Category A compost varieties from two different sources. They will be processed separately at different times of the year. They are:
- A compost made from green cart food and yard waste; and
- A more nutrient-rich biosolids based compost
Both varieties are safe to use anywhere and add valuable nutrients to the soil. The composting process and testing for each variety is the same.
The composting process
Step 1 – Shredding the material
Food and yard waste arrives by trucks to the composting facility. The material is shredded to create a recipe for optimum decomposition.
During the winter months dewatered biosolids are brought to the compost facility. Biosolids are a nutrient-rich, organic material produced by advanced wastewater treatment. Biosolids are blended with various types of wood chips to create the ideal mix to enhance the composting process.
Front end loaders and conveyors move all of the material into large composting vessels. Biosolids material and green cart food and yard waste are kept separate.
Step 2 – In-vessel composting
The material stays in the composting vessels for 21 days. During this time the pipes that extend beneath each vessel pump air into the material, keeping the microorganisms that break down the material happy. Vessels are monitored for things such as temperature, moisture content and oxygen levels. This keeps the decomposition process running smoothly.
- Odour control
Odour management is one of our main priorities. We’ve invested in odour control systems to filter them out. Large biofilters are used to reduce odours before exhausting air from the building. Air from both the active composting and curing phases is directed through the biofilters.
- Eliminating pathogens
The compost pile will reach temperatures of at least 55 degrees Celsius. These sustained temperatures are difficult to achieve in backyard composters. This step is important because it kills off pathogens like e-coli and salmonella that might be found in materials like uncooked meats and pet waste.
Step 3 – Screening
The composted material is screened to as small as 12 millimetres, producing top quality compost. This allows us to remove any contaminants that still remain and take them to the landfill.
Step 4 – Curing and cool down
After screening, the compost material enters the curing building where it remains for another 21 days. The material is turned over and mixed every five days to introduce oxygen and encourage further decomposition. Pipes in the floor draw air in and through the material to further enhance break down. After curing, the material is moved to the compost storage facility.
Step 5 – Final product testing
The composting facility will produce a Category A compost that is safe to use anywhere, including farms, gardens, parks and nurseries.
To ensure it meets this Category A standard, samples are sent to a Compost Quality Alliance (CQA) accredited lab for analysis to ensure it passes the criteria set by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment .
Step 6 – Sales
Once certified, the Category A compost is ready for distribution. Compost is a sustainable, nutrient-rich soil amendment used to enrich our soils. The finished compost will be sold in bulk to farms.