On bags and recycling


photo by scarequotes [flickr]

Hang onto those reusable grocery bags. That 20-cents-per-bag fee was approved by City Council today, so guys like me who forget to bring their grocery bags with them to the store or market a lot are going to be contributing to the local civic revenue stream.

Meanwhile, for those with access to yard waste cans, the recyclers would really like you to be tossing your food scraps (vegetables, bread, pasta, eggshells, coffee grounds, but no meat, chicken, or dairy) and “food-soiled paper” in with the yard waste every week. (There’s been talk of requiring that, too, in the not too distant future.)

All very well, but how do you bag the stuff? Plastic bags won’t work.

Seattle Public Utilities hasn’t updated their web site in awhile, and they’re still claiming that biodegradable bags aren’t acceptable. Actually, that’s wrong. Cedar Grove, the composter, says you can use any of the bags from these manufacturers to bag up your food waste.

Then there’s the smell problem. For those who don’t want to haul every meal out to the yard waste bin, you might want to invest in a small kitchen bin with a lid to keep the odor down. You can buy a $30 model with a charcoal filter at Metropolitan Market, or something a lot cheaper. The coffee grounds will help to keep the smell down, too.

Hat tips to the P-I and LJ user maarten.

5 Comments so far

  1. rakka on July 29th, 2008 @ 7:51 am

    colin, there’s no need for super special composting bags or containers. the bf and i have been using our apartment’s yard waste bin for composting for a while and we store our vegetable scraps in a tupperware container that we keep in our fridge. we line on the bottom of said container with shredded junk mail to help keep coffee ground leachate from getting too gross when we eventully take it out to be composted. no fuss, no muss, no rotting stench.

  2. wesa on July 29th, 2008 @ 8:48 am

    I bought a dry food Rubbermaid container from Value Village for a dollar a year ago. It keeps the smell from spreading, narrow enough to store under the sink next to the trash and recycle bins, it holds a few days worth of scraps, and is small enough to easily rinse under the tap. No need to spend big bucks.

  3. kayvaan on July 29th, 2008 @ 9:33 am

    everything sounds hard until you start doing it and work out a system. that’s the thing about people – we’re ingenious at adapting. that’s why we’re succesful.

    we bought a small ceramic jar with a lid (maybe a gallon tops) that we keep on the kitchen counter. all food scraps (minus meat and bones) and used paper towels go in there during the day. every night i take it out to the yard waste bin and then rinse it.

    no bag necessary. it’s not that hard. really.

    every now and then we’ll have something big like a watermelon and the rind is just too much so i just take it directly out to the bin.

    i know that for some people in apartments that trip may be longer, so maybe you have to be a bit more ingenious. but you’ll figure it out! :)

    btw – any counter-top food-scrap container that has a lid and is emptied once a day will not need a silly charcoal filter. that’s just a gimmick. those containers are so small that you have to empty them daily anyway.

  4. Dylan (dylan) on July 29th, 2008 @ 10:05 am

    I’ve been using a ,a href="http://www.globeequipment.com/Catalog/CAM!4SFSCW.html">CamSquare 4-qt container I picked up years ago. Big enough to hold most food scraps, small enough you have to empty before it starts to reek, comes with a nice lid, dishwasher safe polycarbonate.

    Unfortunately, it’s polycarbonate, so I’ve been unwittingly putting bisphenol A into the recycling bin after runs through the dishwasher.

  5. mattsmalley on July 29th, 2008 @ 11:20 am

    My wife and I recently picked up some bio bags (www.biobagusa.com) and love them. I’ve seen them at various places like pcc. Also I can’t find it on the manufacturer’s site but they make a little plastic bin that we found at City People’s garden supply (http://www.citypeoples.com/gardenstore/index.html) We keep under our sink and just take the bag out once a week or so. I’ve never noticed any fowl smell at all from our compost, but regular garbage can almost always smells as that’s where the fish and meat scraps and things end up.

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