Langley Green Cans eco-friendly

Sometimes it takes time and a bit of will power to form a new habit or start a new routine.

But when it came to finding a better way to dispose of food waste, using a Green Can was no problem at all, according to Walnut Grove’s Melissa Brown.

“Change can be a challenge, but once you do it, it is quite simple,” the nurse and mother of three said of her recycling routine.

Green Can is a Township of Langley initiative that encourages residents to keep food scraps and other compostable items out of the landfill by separating them from their garbage.

By collecting unwanted food scraps – including meat, bones, dairy products, fish, bread, and soiled paper – in a small kitchen container then placing them in a curbside collection bin, residents can keep thousands of tonnes of material out of the garbage each year.

According to Debbie Fleming of the Township’s engineering division, food scraps account for 40 per cent of our garbage.

If taken to the landfill and left to decompose, they create harmful greenhouse gasses – and cost the municipality in disposal fees.

“By taking just a few minutes to separate our food scraps, we can help our environment and save money,” Fleming said.

Brown, who has always maintained a composter in the backyard, was thrilled when the Township introduced the Green Can program a couple of years ago, as it allowed her family to dispose of other food scraps that she could not put in her composter, such as cooked food, dairy solids, meat, and bones.

“It’s been great,” she said. “There is so much less waste going into garbage. The garbage doesn’t smell at all, and we have to clean it out less.”

The key, Brown said, is to keep the small food waste containers handy by the kitchen sink. She and her husband have one designated for the backyard compost, the other for Green Can.

Lining the containers with newspaper or using a paper food waste bag prevents mess and odour, makes it easier to transfer waste to the outdoor Green Can, and is easier to clean out, she said.

For Langley’s Leona Dyck, whose husband is more than 70 years old, using the Green Can took a little more getting used to.

“He is old-school,” she laughed. “Our neighbours were doing it, but they are of a younger generation and quicker to change. For us it took a while, but since

I’ve convinced my husband, he has been gung ho for it.”

Now the family keeps a bowl on the counter that they fill with food waste and empty it into the Green Can once a day.

Lawn clippings and yard waste go in as well, along with shredded documents, which the Dycks place at the bottom of the can to absorb any moisture.

“It’s nice and clean and you don’t have to spend any money,” said Leona. “We’re totally on board. It’s our tax dollars doing some good.”

The Green Can program is available to single-family households that receive municipal garbage pick-up from the Township of Langley.

Residents can purchase a 77 or 80 litre can, or use their old yard trimmings can.

Collected food scraps, along with yard waste, are then placed in the can, which should be no heavier than 44 pounds.

The cans must be marked with Green Can stickers which can be picked up at any Township recreation centre, the Civic Facility, or Operations Centre.

Place Green Cans on the curb, with the decal facing the street.

The cans are picked up on regular garbage and recycling collection days, and there is no limit to the number of Green Cans that can be set out.

Food scraps collected from Township residents are used by The Answer Garden Products to produce high grade compost for local retailers.

Not only is composting better for the environment, it costs less than sending material to the dump.

Visit tol.ca/greencan for more information about what can be put in the Green Can.

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