Compost your food scraps this holiday season
Portland, OR — The holiday season often brings more food, festivities, and all of the waste that can go along with them. This year, you have a new place to scrape your holiday plates and holiday leftovers. Now you can add food scraps — including meat, bones, and dairy — along with yard debris to your green roll cart for weekly pickup.
Not only will putting leftovers in your green roll cart keep your holiday turkey and ham scraps out of the landfill, it will turn them into nutrient-rich compost to nourish yards and gardens. Compost helps plants grow, prevents erosion, helps soil retain water, and blocks disease and weeds. Locally, food scraps account for almost 30,000 tons of unnecessary garbage every year, which can now be put to better use as compost to improve the health of our soils and gardens.
“Our family was surprised to learn how much of our holiday waste is actually compostable,” said Meg Matsushima, resident of the Roseway neighborhood and participant in the pilot program. “Leftover cookies, fruitcake, and even the gingerbread house can go right into the green roll cart along with napkins and paper towels used while cooking.”
Try out a few of these simple tips to help make curbside composting easy now and through this busy holiday season.
In the kitchen, store your kitchen pail next to your work area so it is handy during food preparation. Keep your pail tidy by lining it with newspaper, a paper bag or an approved compostable liner. You can even try wrapping up food scraps in a piece of newspaper before placing them in your kitchen pail. Don’t forget to empty your pail frequently, even when it is not full. You can toss it in the dishwasher or wash it by hand, and even sprinkle a little baking soda inside to prevent odors.
On your pickup day, set your green Portland Composts roll cart on the curb every week, even if it is not full. Before you empty your kitchen pail into your green roll cart, try placing a few sheets of newspaper, a paper bag, or a pizza box on the bottom of the roll cart to absorb moisture. Even better, you can layer your food with some leaves or yard debris to absorb moisture and odors.
As you plan your holiday meals and family gatherings, consider a few easy ways to reduce waste and make composting food scraps easy for your guests. Putting recycling and food scrap containers in plain sight helps guests easily see and use them. You can also invite your friends and family to bring along food containers so they can take home leftovers. Instead of using plastic platters and paper or plastic plates and cups, consider buying an inexpensive, durable set of dishes that you can load into the dishwasher and box up until your next party. Reduce garbage by preparing a dish out of local ingredients that you can buy without packaging, like apples, pears, or hazelnuts.
After the holidays, you can even compost your tree by putting it out on the curb on your collection day for a fee, or cutting the trunk and branches into pieces less than 36 inches long and four inches in diameter and adding them your green cart for free.
If you still find that you have more garbage than usual this holiday season, you have the option to set out an extra bag or can of garbage on your pickup day for a one-time fee of $5.
Finally, there will be no changes to your collection schedule due to holidays this season. If you have questions about your schedule, you can find it online anytime at www.portlandonline.com/bps/eschedule.
Three easy ways to get help:
- Online: www.portlandcomposts.com
- Hotline: 503-823-7202
- Email: email@example.com
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