NORTH LINCOLN COUNTY — If it grows, it goes. At least that’s what north Lincoln County residents will be able to say soon as they’re able to dispose of yard clippings, table scraps and even small amounts of cardboard alongside their usual recyclables starting next month.
North Lincoln Sanitary Service will distributing new compostable roll carts during the next two weeks and will begin collecting compostable materials from customers on March 1. The new carts will serve non-commercial customers in dwellings smaller than a triplex in north Lincoln County, including Depoe Bay, Lincoln City and smaller communities such as Otis and Rose Lodge.
Residential customers will see a rate increase of $6.85 starting on March 1, but later in the year, after enough composted material is processed, customers will be entitled to a free yard of compost in celebration of Earth Day. The compost bins will be blue with brown lids, and the first batch will hold 96 gallons — smaller sizes such as 32 gallon bins will become available later down the line.
Compostable pickup will follow customer’s weekly recyclable pickup schedule, so customers would put their bins out every other week alongside their recyclables.
“After we collect it from the curbside, we’ll take it to our private transfer station and load it into trailers. Then that gets hauled to Pacific Region Compost near our landfill south of Monmouth,” said Colin Teem, public information officer for North Lincoln Sanitary. “It takes them about 60 to 65 days for them to compost it using aeration type composting systems.”
Teem said about a third of garbage is some sort of organic material that can be recovered and reused by composting instead of going to the landfill. That includes yard clippings, branches, leaves, food waste, kitchen scraps, bones and small amounts of cardboard, such as individual pizza boxes contaminated with leftover grease and food scraps.
“If it grows it goes. That’s a good catchphrase for this,” Teem said. “If you have a big party and have like 50 pizza boxes, they don’t want that many, but if you go and get Dominoes one week and have a maybe one box, that can go.”
Teem said during some colder months, where more bulky, fibers organic material like yard debris isn’t as common and most of the compost is instead lighter food waste, the occasional cardboard box added to the composting mix helps accommodate the process’s need for fibrous material. Pizza boxes and other food containers in particular can’t normally be recycled with other cardboard because they are contaminated by grease and leftover food.
“I think it’s a great idea because we’re putting stuff in it that will come back to the community for people to use, but we’re also doing something that people can look at and see what happens to this stuff after it’s disposed of,” Teem said. “Most garbage just goes to a landfill and no one sees it or has to think about it.”
Things to avoid putting in the compost bin include plastics, bottles, cans, polystyrene, aluminum, animal waste, diapers, toilet paper or any hazardous material.