Did you know that almost 75% of what we throw away can be recycled, but only 30% is getting recycled? That means that a whopping 45% of what we are throwing out, does not need to be in the landfill...
Recycling was normal in my household growing up, but it wasn't until I started this journey that I really began to take a stock of what I was bringing home, and what I was throwing away, and the biggest question; why.
I'm just one person, and a person who recycles at that - how was I making so much garbage?!
I figured there had to be a better/cleaner way so the first thing I did was buy a compost bin with the idea that I had to start somewhere, and diverting some of the organics I was throwing in the bin would be a good start.
At the time, I was living in an apartment in Victoria and the city was just starting to ban organics from the landfill, so we had just gotten a green bin for the building - this was key.
If you live in an apartment in BC, then you likely have a green bin available. If you're not already composting, I have compiled a quick 3 steps to getting started with barely any extra effort (and if you don't live in an apartment, or don't have a green bin available, I'll put together a separate blog post for you).
Top tips for composting in an apartment building:
1. Buy a bin/receptacle
Some buildings will provide these, but if yours doesn't, I recommend picking one up at your local grocery store. You can even use a large tupperware bin to start. It doesn't have to be pretty, but you do have to start somewhere. I recommend one like this that fits on your counter top or under your sink - this one even keeps any stink at bay.
2. Bin liners keep it tidy (and smell-free)
Using bin liners like Bag to Earth (get at places like London Drugs, Canadian Tire and most grocery stores) are a saviour if you're worried about any mess or smell. These are essentially compostable leak-proof paper liners that you can just pick up and take down to the larger compost bin with literally zero mess. This just makes the whole process so much easier and quicker.
Another tip for keeping things clean and smell-free is to keep your bin in the freezer! This totally neutralizes all smells and keeps things easy and tidy. My mom uses compostable bins like Greenlid so she can just toss the whole thing into the compost bin in her building - easy peasy.
3. Add your organics
Now you can start diverting! If you are composting in an apartment, your organics are likely going to a commercial facility to be composted (but check your local rules and regulation to be sure). Essentially you can compost brown and/or green material.
Brown material = clean/food soiled paper, leaves, vacuum dust/dirt, newsprint, brown paper, toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, clean cotton (balls & swabs), wool, egg shells, hair etc...
Green material = vegetables, food scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags (remove staple) leaves, grass clippings, garden waste etc...
some jurisdictions will also take dairy products like milk and cheese, so make sure to check with your local supplier.