After the cool and rainy spring, it’s time to prepare for a warm and sunny summer! Warmer temperatures increase the decomposition rate of household waste, leading to stinky trash odors and unwanted pests.
Here are some tips for managing your waste in the summer heat.
- Store your trash carts in a cool, shaded area to avoid the sun’s heat. If possible, roll your carts to the curb early on collection day and take them in after collection so they don’t sit in the hot sun for long periods of time.
- Make sure the lids on your countertop food scrap container (and curbside organics cart, if you have one) close completely to keep odors in and pests out.
- Line your countertop food scrap container with certified compostable bags or brown paper bags for easy cleanup.
- Place dry materials, like dead leaves, a few sheets of newspaper, or a square of cardboard, at the bottom of your organics cart (if one is provided in your community) to soak up any excess moisture from food and green waste.
- Keep food scraps in the freezer during the week and take them out to the organics cart on collection day. Or freeze them until you are ready to add them to your compost bin or pile.
- Sprinkle a quarter cup of baking soda into your carts (or even into individual trash and compostable bags) to help absorb odors. Bonus tip: Baking soda is also great for scrubbing your trash carts to remove odors.
- Lightly spray your countertop food scrap container with a mixture of lemon or tea tree oil and water, or use a kitchen pail with a charcoal filter to combat unpleasant odors.
If you don’t have a countertop food scrap container, you can make your own by repurposing any resealable food package or container (coffee tin, deli or to-go container, or glass jar), a large bowl with a lid, or a zipping freezer bag. Be creative! For more detailed instructions on home composting, visit the EPA Composting at Home page.
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