Here are some useful tips and helpful hints to help you make your experience with the organics program successful.
compostable biofilm Bags
JUNE 2017 UPDATE:
For the time being, we ask that residents cease using the compostable bags made from the biofilm. Our composter has found some issues with these bags not quite breaking down as expected, or as needed. They intend on running some tests to find bags that can work. In the meantime, you can continue using paper bags or utilizing newspaper to line the carts and kitchen collector, or even using leaf bags to line the cart. Just for the time being, please refrain from the compostable bags until we get more clarity from the composter as to what we can and cannot accept. Once we know more, another update will be provided.
If you choose to use bags while enrolled in the program, you must use compostable bags. Most compostable bags will be clearly labeled as compostable, plus they will carry a label similar to this: Compostable bags can be purchased at following locations:
Ace Hardware at 1398 Williamson Street. Ace Hardware at 414 N. Midvale Blvd. Ace Hardware at 209 Cottage Grove Rd (13 gallon bags only) Bed Bath and Beyond at 215 Junction Rd (can be found near the refuse cans for sale) Williamson Street Co-op at 1221 Williamson Street Woodman's Markets at 3817 Milwaukee Street They can also be purchased through online vendors. You may be able to find them at other local vendors, so ask your grocery or hardware store of choice about the possibility of carrying the bags for purchase. If your grocery or hardware store begins carrying the bags (or already does) contact us and let us know where else they can be purchased in Madison and we will update this web site with more stores. If you do not know if your bag is compostable or not, do not use it. It is better to err on the side of certainty. Keep in mind that biodegradable and compostable do not mean the same thing, so for the organics program, you need to choose compostable bags if you elect to use them.
Alternatives to Compostable biofilm Bags
You could go bagless. Bags are not a requirement for the program, though that could make your cart and kitchen collector dirty and could require regular cleaning.
You could also use paper bags, such as lining your organics cart with a sturdy kraft paper leaf bag, or using smaller sturdy paper bags for your kitchen collector. You could line the kitchen collector with newspaper, or use newspaper to line the bottom of the cart.
From Eunice, an organics participant: Brown sandwich bags inside the kitchen collector work, too. Pinch the top closed with a clothes pin until it's time for it to go out to the curbside cart to help keep down smells.
Regular washing of the kitchen collector and cart will help prevent odors.
Sprinkling baking soda into the cart and collector will also help tame persistent smells.
If you are discarding something that will be particularly smelly (for example: fish), consider wrapping that in newspaper individually and then placing it into the bag in the kitchen collector (effectively double bagging it without using two compostable bags). Or, after wrapping it up, place it into the freezer then place it in the organics cart when it is time to roll it to the curb.
washing the cart & collector
Soap and water will do the trick for both the collector and the cart. For the curbside cart, after you spray it out with your garden hose, please dump the gray water into your lawn rather than in the gutter.
If you have a more persistent spot in your collector to clean, and really want to scrub it clean, you may want to consider using a homemade creamy soft scrub.
Don't forget to check and post to the the Q&A section of the organics page, and feel free to send an email to share what you've learned or techniques you've adopted to make your experience with the organics program successful.
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