Food Waste Pilot FAQ

 

How were the food waste collection pilot program participants chosen?

We selected the collection routes for the pilot program by identifying areas with the highest participation in yard waste collection. This is important because having a green organics cart is a requirement to join the food waste collection pilot program.  

We further refined our selection to the top 3 collection routes in each waste collection zone, which resulted in nearly 4,000 households eligible to participate. 

How long will the pilot program last?

We plan to run the pilot program for approximately 8 months to evaluate the success. The program will run from April 2024 to the end of December 2024.

If the program is successful, the City will seek to implement a city-wide organics collection program. 

Is there a cost for me to participant in the pilot program?
No, there is no cost to residents participating in the food waste collection pilot program. 
How will you measure the success of the pilot program?
A study to analyze the program will be conducted before and after the pilot assess the amount of food waste diverted as a result of the program. 
I don't have a green organics cart, but I live in one of the pilot program zones. If I get a green cart now, will I also be provided a kitchen bucket to participate in the pilot program?

No, to best prepare for the pilot program, participants were pre-determined based on being current participants in the seasonal yard waste collection program. Only those households will be provided with a kitchen bucket to use during the pilot program.

When will my green organics cart be emptied and will it be collected in the winter months?

The green organics carts will continue to be emptied on your scheduled waste collection day howeverthe carts, in the pilot program routes only, will continue to be emptied in the late fall/winter after the seasonal yard waste collection program ends. 

Visit medicinehat.ca/collectionschedule or download the Recycle Coach app to determine your scheduled collection day. 

Can I opt out of the pilot program?
 Yes, participation is not mandatory, however, it is strongly encouraged. 
How do I prepare my food waste contents for disposal?

Use the kitchen bucket provided to collect all accepted food and organic waste produced in your household. When the bucket is full, or as needed, empty the contents into your green organics cart. 

Use a compostable paper bag or newspaper liner to transfer the contents into your green organics cart which will help keep the organic waste from freezing in the cart during the colder fall/winter months. 

Refer to the guide provided with the kitchen bucket to determine the acceptable contents and follow the suggestions provided to make disposal easy and clean. 

Why are compostable or biodegradable plastics not accepted?

The terms "compostable" and "biodegradable" can be deceiving. Not all biodegradable plastics can be composted, and some biodegradable plastics are made from fossil fuel-based materials, which we don't want for our compost operations. 

Not all composting methods can accommodate compostable or biodegradable plastics. 

Compostable plastic is meant to be processed into compost under specific conditions, and not all compostable plastic is made the same, so they can break down differently. 

To ensure continued success of our composting program, it is important to keep plastics out of the green organics cart. 

Why are some compostable items, like pizza boxes, not accepted?
Items that can easily be blown in the wind have been excluded from the pilot program due to the current outdoor composting operations at the Waste Management Facility.
Why are tea bags not accepted as food waste?
Not all tea bags are made of compostable materials so, to reduce the chance for contamination in our finished compost, tea bags have been excluded from the list of acceptable items for the pilot program. 
Why can't kitty litter and animal waste go in the green organics cart?

The success of our food waste collection program relies heavily on our ability to produce top-quality Category A compost. High amounts of animal waste and kitty litter can compromise composting operations, resulting in lower quality compost. 

I have a Garburator, why do I need a kitchen bucket and the green organics cart collection?
Disposing of acceptable kitchen waste in your green organics cart is a far more efficient way to dispose of organic waste materials than using a garburator. By utilizing the kitchen bucket and the green organics cart collection, you can easily dispose of items like eggs and eggshells, meat, fish, bones, fats, oils, and grease, coffee grounds and food soiled paper towels, etc., which can be repurposed into compost.  
I already compost in my backyard composter, do I need a kitchen bucket?

Please continue to use your backyard composter, it's great to know that there are residents already doing their part to reduce waste going to the landfill. 

We do encourage you to participate in the food waste collection pilot program as it is a more efficient way to dispose of items that you cannot compost yourself such as bones, meat, fish, dairy/dairy substitute products, cooked food, solid fats, cooking oil and cooking grease, food soiled napkins, etc. 

Your participation will greatly help us measure the success of the pilot program. 

Can I get a replacement or extra kitchen bucket?
The City will provide one kitchen bucket per participating household. If you need a replacement or would like an extra bucket, you can purchase one from any big box or hardware store. You can also repurpose any type of bucket such as an empty ice cream pail. 
I live in an apartment, how can I participate in the food waste collection?

At this time, the food waste collection pilot program is primarily focusing on single family dwellings with green organics carts currently participating in yard waste collection. 

If the pilot program is successful, there is potential for the City to roll out a city-wide organics collection program which, in time, will plan to include multi-family dwellings.