Green Cart FAQ
Here is some helpful information and frequently asked questions about our Green Cart Organic Waste program. If you need more information please contact the Solid Waste Outreach Coordinator at 1-902-625-7888.
No. In order for our community to implement an effective waste reduction program, a comprehensive organics waste program was chosen, and each household that currently receives curbside waste collection is required to utilize the green organics cart as well.
Let us clarify: Use only the paper bags or the certified compostable bags with the “Compostable In Industrial Facilities” logo in the green cart; these do compost. Certified compostable bags are scientifically tested to verify that items will breakdown in composting facilities without harming the quality of the compost.
What not to use: regular plastic bags or bio-degradable bags; these do not compost.
Organic waste from the green cart will be taken to a large-scale commercial composting facility. This facility maintains higher temperatures than backyard compost bins and can break down materials within 8 to 13 weeks compared to 3 months. High temperatures are required to kill bacteria and break down difficult organic items including dairy, grains, and proteins that cannot be composted in a backyard compost bin.
There are many possible reasons why your waste was not collected. Please read the following list to determine if any of these reasons apply:
Is this your collection day?
Please double-check our collection schedules and verify that this is your collection day and that you have the proper items curbside.
Did you place your waste curbside before 7:00am on collection day?
If waste has already been collected in your area and you set your waste out after 7:00am, it will not be collected. Please note, collection drivers may change their pickup routes and schedules: even if they normally pick up your waste at a certain time, there is no guarantee that this will happen every week.
Was your waste visible and free of any obstructions?
If your waste was obstructed (e.g. blocked by a parked vehicle) or not set out on the curb, the collection truck drivers may not see them, meaning they will not be collected. Please help the collection truck driver by making your waste visible and accessible. If there is a vehicle parked near your waste, please pull your waste up in line with the obstruction.
Is there a sticker on your waste?
If there is a sticker on your waste, please read it. Does the note say that your waste will not be collected today, and explain why? For example, your waste may have been refused because it was contaminated or set out on the wrong collection day. If none of these four conditions apply, please call the Solid Waste Management Information line at 1-902-625-7888 to report a missed collection.
The Town of Port Hawkesbury has chosen biweekly collection to encourage residents to reduce their waste. Compared with having weekly collection of organics and garbage, biweekly collection decreases costs substantially and increases the likelihood that residents will divert their organic material.
In most cases, families who place their food and yard waste in their green cart and who recycle using their blue bags will have very little garbage. Check out our sorting guide to see if there is anything else you could be placing in your green cart or blue bag.
All organics collected at curbside are trucked to the Guysborough Waste Management Facility. They offer 2 yearly pick-ups (fall and spring) where their compost material is available for the public to purchase for $20 dollars per yard bucket.
Contact the Solid Waste Management information line at (1-902-625-7888) if your green cart becomes damaged and is unusable. Your information will be added to our Green Cart Repair/Replacement list for a staff person to visit your address. The staff person will assess your green cart to determine if the cart can be repaired or if a replacement cart is required for your civic addresses.
- Line the bottom of your cart with newspaper, cardboard boxes or paper bags.
- Don’t compress cart contents.
- Wrap wet foods in napkins, newspaper or boxes.
- Layer wet organics (food waste) with dry organics (newspaper, pizza boxes).
- Consider spraying your green cart with cooking oil to minimize the risk of freezing and ensure easy removal.
While your food scraps can be placed in the cart loose, you can control odors and keep your cart clean by:
- Using a paper bag or newspaper liner in your kitchen pail.
- Freezing meat and fish waste until collection day, especially during warm weather.
- Wrapping wet foods in newspaper or placing them in cardboard boxes.
- Sprinkling a small amount of baking soda in your kitchen pail and green cart.
- Rinsing your green cart with lemon juice, vinegar or baking soda.
- Emptying your kitchen bin into your green cart every two-to-three days.
- Placing your green cart curbside for collection every available pickup, even if it’s not full.
- Keeping the lid of the kitchen bin and green cart closed.
When an item is compostable, it means that it will fully degrade into natural elements. Biodegradable simply means that the item will break down into smaller pieces of plastic, but it will never fully degrade.
To make sure that our organic matter becomes high quality compost, we are recommending residents use paper bags for their kitchen bins rather than ones labelled as biodegradable.
Yes, lining your kitchen pail with newspaper will help absorb liquids, reducing odours and making it easier for you to clean. We suggest wrapping meat scraps and bones in paper towel or old newspaper before putting them into your kitchen pail.
Yes, you may line your kitchen bin and green cart to help keep them clean and reduce odours. Use only paper bags or the certified compostable bags (with the logo) in the green bin; these do compost. Certified compostable bags are scientifically tested to verify that items will breakdown in composting facilities without harming the quality of the finished compost. What not to use: regular plastic bags or bio-degradable bags; these do not compost.
No. There are several alternatives, including placing your organic waste in the cart loose (i.e., no bag), making your own bin liners from newspapers or flyers, or using a cardboard box (e.g., cereal box).
During the winter, the contents of your green cart may freeze to the sides or bottom of the cart. Drivers performing the collection make every effort to dump all contents, but it is your responsibility to ensure your cart contents are loose. If the cart doesn’t get completely emptied because of frozen contents, please be patient, wait until your next organics collection day and ensure contents are loose. Please ensure that green carts, clear bags, blue bags and garbage boxes are not buried or stuck in snowbanks. If they are not easily accessible to the driver, they may not be collected.
Tips to prevent organics from freezing:
- Wrap wet foods in napkins, newspaper or boxes
- Layer wet organics (food waste, leaves) with dry organics (newspaper, boxes)
- Drain excess liquids
- Line the bottom of your cart with newspaper, carboard boxes or paper bags
- Do not compress cart contents
- Consider spraying your cart with cooking oil to minimize the risk of freezing and ensure easy removal
If you are worried about how you will get your cart curbside for collection in the snow, there is no requirement to take your green cart to the curb for every collection if it is not full. If you find that there is snow and ice obstructing your path, you can wait until the next collection day if conditions are more favourable.
While the green carts have a secure closure, we suggest keeping your green cart away from fences and deck railing so animals cannot get into it and always ensure the lid is securely closed. Spraying a strong-smelling repellent such as vinegar on your green cart and using natural repellents such as peppermint oil, cayenne pepper, chili pepper and hot sauce can act as anti-gnawing repellents and deter animals from taking an interest in your green cart.
The main purpose of the new waste management program is to reduce residents’ waste. Collecting excess garbage from some households would be unfair to those households that have reduced their garbage.
Please do not pour these liquids down the drain: they will block sewer lines. Instead, dispose of oils using your green cart. To avoid creating a mess in your green cart, you can pour the liquids into a disposable paper coffee cup before placing it in your cart. Or pour the oil into a container, freeze it, and on collection day, dump the solidified contents into your green cart. Please do not put any plastic or metal containers in your green cart because these materials are not accepted.
Periodically, Town staff or waste collection contractors may do quick visual inspections of residents’ green carts. If an error (e.g., contamination, wrong placement) is found, the staff member leaves a helpful note. The goal of auditing is to educate residents about contamination and proper placement.
Stickers are friendly, educational reminders about sorting your waste and placing your carts. The waste truck driver or Town staff may leave a sticker on your waste for one or more of the following reasons:
Your waste was contaminated
If there were non-recyclables in your blue bag, recyclables in your garbage bags, organic waste in your garbage bags or non-organic waste in your green cart, your waste is contaminated.
Your waste was too heavy
Bags must not exceed the weight limit of 20kgs, and green carts must not exceed the weight limit of 25kgs.
Your green cart was overflowing
Your cart’s lid must fully close.
You exceeded the bag limit
We permit 6 clear bags for garbage, 3 blue bags for plastics and 3 blue bags for papers.
You placed the wrong items curbside
Please double-check our collection schedules and verify if it is green cart and garbage week or blue bag week.
This means that Town staff or collection drivers checked your cart and found that its content and placement were great. Thank you for sorting you waste properly!
Generally, no. The Town’s approach is educational: we want to help residents get used to the new waste program. This is why we leave educational notes on contaminated or improperly placed carts.
However, in cases of repeated, heavy contamination, and after several written warnings, we may apply fines as a last resort.