When compostable containers are placed in the recycling stream, they cause contamination and may result in other items not being recycled.
If your container isn’t marked and you can’t find out if it’s certified then put it in your curbside trash for the landfill. You don’t want to contaminate composting streams with non-compostable items.
Be skeptical of biodegradable or “eco” labels with no certification. These products may visibly break down eventually but they may put toxins in the soil. Items should be certified compostable and meet ASTM D6400 and ASTM D6868 standards. If you can’t verify, put in your curbside trash for the landfill.
Great! Keep reading to find a composting channel.
What to do with your container:
You could probably compost the container in your own compost setup but it may take a year or more to break down. If you try this, shred the container as much as possible before adding it to your composter. If you are getting containers multiple times a week or your composter has limited space, you may want to consider a commercial composting solution (keep reading.)
Consider joining a service, or keep reading.
There are a few local services which provide curbside pickup of food scraps and compostable items from Pittsburgh residents. Typically these services provide you with a bucket which you fill with your waste and then the service picks up weekly. These services may also offer you access to the finished compost for your garden! Always remember to check what items your composting service accepts so that you don’t contaminate the compost material.
See if they’ll take it.
Always remember to double-check what items your composting service accepts but if the container is certified-compostable, they’ll likely take it.
Great! Drop it off!
Great! Here are some options for places to take your container.
- City of Pittsburgh Farmers Markets:
- East End Food Coop (accepts BPI-certified compostables and all food, composting provided by Zero Waste Wrangler)
- ShareWaste (since this is for residential composters, most probably won’t take containers)
- University of Pittsburgh (Pitt community members only)
Put in your curbside trash for the landfill.