Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 09:05 pm
There are tricks to limit the odours coming from compost bins, tricks that many Sherbrooke residents don’t know about because this is their first summer of using this type of bin in which food residues are mainly deposited.
One of these tricks is to place a few sheets of newspaper between the “deposits” you make in the bin, says Caroline Bureau, coordinator of the environmental awareness patrol.
Another trick is to avoid disposing of lawn grass in the compost bins.
“Putting grass in a bin contributes to increased heat, which increases the odors of whatever is in there,” Bureau says, adding that it’s even beneficial for a lawn to not pick up grass you just mowed.”
Since June, eight youth from the Environmental Awareness Patrol have been making the rounds of all the neighborhoods and don’t hesitate to open the curbside bins to see what people have put in them.
“We don’t go so far as to go through the bins, but we look at what’s there without handling anything,” Bureau says.
“What we often see is that people are still using plastic bags to dispose of their compostable materials. It’s not allowed and it causes a lot of problems with the machinery when it comes time to sort the waste. The biodegradable bag is not recommended either because it leaves a plastic dust when it decomposes and, for the moment, we don’t recommend the compostable bag either.”
However, Bureau says new standards are expected to be issued by the City on this issue soon.
Baking soda can also be used to reduce odours from compost bins. You can also wrap meat scraps in newspaper and freeze them until the day before collection.
To eliminate worms and other unwanted insects, the inside of the bin can be sprinkled with salt or vinegar.
Ms. Bureau reminds us that diapers, towels and sanitary products should not be put in the compost bin. However, soiled pizza boxes belong in the compost bin and unsoiled pizza boxes go in the recycling bin.
The Environmental Awareness Patrol, whose members are mostly students, not only issues friendly reminders (521 last summer), but also leaves congratulatory notes when the bins inspected appear to be in compliance with City standards.
They also meet with people and provide advice and information. “Ninety-five per cent of people give us a very good reception, after all, we are there to raise awareness and I think we play our role well,” says patrol officer Jérémie Roberge.
Ms. Bureau indicates however that in the green bins, for recycling, there are still many plastic bags. “It is recommended to put plastic bags in the same bag rather than throwing them away separately and anything related to electricity or electronics does not belong in a recycling bin.
The Environmental Awareness Patrol will continue its work for the remainder of the summer and will focus its awareness on ragweed over the next few days.
The work of this patrol is not only aimed at the content of the bins; we also talk about the forbidden pesticides and herbicides, the use of drinking water in summer, the regulation gutters, etc.