Keep it fresh!

Thanks to the heat of the summer months, it can be challenging to keep curbside containers from giving off unpleasant odors. The things we throw away can be downright stinky, especially when met with the sun’s rays and high seasonal temperatures.

Luckily, there are some steps you can take to reduce and control trash odors:

  1. When it’s not collection day, store your containers in a cool, shaded area to avoid the sun’s heat. If possible, place your containers at the curb early on collection day and take them in as soon as collection is complete so that they don’t sit in the hot sun for long periods of time.
  2. Bag all trash and tie bags shut before placing them into your curbside waste container. This reduces litter during collection and also helps keep your container cleaner inside.
  3. Place yard waste loose into your green waste container or use kraft paper bags. Kraft paper yard waste bags, which are compostable, are available from home improvement, hardware, grocery and other retail stores. To keep damp waste from sticking to the bottom of your green waste container, try placing dry items, such as a few dry leaves or a few sheets of newspaper, underneath moist items, like grass clippings and fresh trimmings.
  4. If you recycle properly, the only containers that might get smelly are the trash and green waste containers. Recyclables should be empty, clean, dry, and loose, so they should never leave behind odors. Please do not bag your recyclables or place any plastic bags into your curbside recycling containers.
  5. To keep your trash and green waste containers smelling fresh, sprinkle about a quarter of a cup of baking soda into the bottom of each container (or even into individual trash bags) to absorb odors.
  6. Wash your containers when they are no longer fresh.

Follow these easy steps to a fresh and clean curbside container:

• Place your containers over an absorbent surface, such as your yard, so that any rinse water will soak into the ground instead of running off.
• If you just want to give the containers a quick clean, squirt a bit of dish soap inside. For more serious odors, pour two to three cups of white vinegar into each container.
• Attach an automatic shut-off spray nozzle to your hose. For best results, you want to use a small amount of water at high pressure. Spray the inside walls and then the bottom of the container.
• Let the soapy water or vinegar/water solution soak in the bottom of containers for an hour or so.
• Tip each container over and dump out the solution onto the ground. Spray the insides of the containers thoroughly to rinse them one more time and then turn them upside-down to drain for a few minutes.
• Turn the containers right-side up. Leave them in the sun with the lid open to dry. The sun will not only finish drying out the containers but will also kill off those last few germs and odors.
• If you still have unpleasant smells, repeat the wash process using a cup of baking soda in each container instead of dish soap or vinegar.

And as always, check with your local solid waste authority for specifics about what you can place into your household waste, green waste, and recycling containers.

Photo credit: MattGush | iStock | Getty Images Plus

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