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A Few Tips for Taking Good Care of Your Bins in the Winter

2 February 2021 | By Thiaba Sène
Tips and tricksWaste management

There’s no denying it—winter is here.

In between playing winter sports and spending evenings in front of your fireplace enjoying steaming cups of hot chocolate and marshmallows, you should also remember to take good care of your waste bins. Yes, your bins have to face the Canadian winter too and they also know just how harsh it can be.

So, why is it so important to take good care of your bins during winter?

For your own sake and for that of your bins!

The temperature is often below freezing in the winter and we all feel it. When your bins are overflowing or not closed properly, snow can make its way in and melt (if it’s above zero) and/or freeze (if it’s below zero). As a result, waste may get stuck to the walls of the bin (especially the compost bin) or even become trapped in ice that has formed at the bottom. And to be honest, we all hate it when we realize that one of our bins wasn’t fully emptied when the truck came by because some waste was stuck in the ice.

A build-up of ice in the bin can also make it heavier, forcing you to struggle to push an extra heavy bin to the curb on collection day, especially considering that organic waste is normally collected less frequently during winter. This may damage the bin or take a toll on your back—not to mention the waste collector’s back.

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Some tips and practical advice

The best way to take care of your bins in the winter is not always obvious. To make the task easier for you, here are a few tips which are really easy to follow :

• Always make sure to properly close the lids of your outdoor bins: that goes for recycling, compost and garbage bins.
• If possible, store your bins in a covered area.
On collection days, make sure that your bins are at the curb and positioned correctly as recommended by your municipality. Also make sure that it will be easy for the waste collector to open the lids (especially on very cold days).
For the compost bin in particular, take a large paper bag and place it in the bin before adding any organic waste.
You can also line the bottom of your outdoor compost bin with a piece of cardboard and wrap any organic waste in newspaper or small paper bags before placing it in the bin. That will absorb moisture, prevent the waste from touching the walls of the bin and make the waste drop into the truck more easily when the bin is turned upside down.
• If you have the space, you can also freeze your compost before placing it in your outdoor compost bin on collection day to prevent liquid waste from building up in your bin to the extent possible.
• After the waste collectors have come, make sure that your bin is completely empty; otherwise, you’ll need to take further precautions next time.
Be sure to sort your waste properly to make sure that no compostable, damp organic waste makes its way into your garbage bin.
You can also rinse out your bins in summer or winter to prevent them from giving off unpleasant odours or getting overly dirty. You can use soap, if necessary, or water and vinegar. Another option is to use baking soda in a liquid solution or to simply sprinkle it into your compost or garbage bin.

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While we’re at it, here’s a reminder: plastic bags, even biodegradable or compostable ones, don’t belong in the compost bin. Also, don’t forget that you can compost the ashes from the pleasant evenings you spent around the fireplace. You just need to place them in a metal container to cool down before they go in the bin. Or you can also keep them to use as fertilizer for your garden!

Last but not least, don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly with soap or hand sanitizer after touching any of your waste bins.

I hope you take good care of yourself and your bins and have an excellent winter season!

Waste Management Coordinator

Thiaba Sène

Thiaba’s passion for the environment and everything related to it pushes her to search for simple, sustainable alternatives to help contribute to sustainable development. For Thiaba, this is more than just a duty—it’s her life’s purpose, especially when she’s playing the role of social entrepreneur. In her spare time, she really enjoys doing volunteer work, diving into a good book, drawing or satisfying her appetite for delicacies while learning even more about the expansive, beautiful regions surrounding her.

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