Green Bin or Trash Bin?

Once when I was in university, a friend of a friend of mine ran an experiment. He took a slice of processed cheese, unwrapped it from its little plastic sheath, and threw it out on his deck. Then he left it alone to suffer through wind, rain, and animal attacks.

Four months later, the slice was still there. It was a little dried out, but otherwise as pure and orange and gelatinous as the day it was unwrapped. No mold, no animal bites, no rot of any kind.

Scary, no? Reminds me of the scene in Super Size Me (actually, I believe this was in the supporting stuff on the DVD) where the guy took some McD’s french fries and put them in a glass jar and, weeks later, they were as golden and clean as the day they were fried. YIKERS.

This comes to mind because the other day I was cleaning up some food to scrape into our compost bin, and I was wondering if, given the above experiments, it was actually okay to put cheese slices and McDonald’s french fries into your green bin. Would the power of the composting plant be able to break them down? Or would their plastic nature mean they fit in better with the blue bin stuff?

Poll time!

Which of the following so-called foods are real enough to actually qualify for green bin status?

  • marshmallows
  • hard candies, like jellybeans, skittles, or candy canes
  • chocolate syrup
  • artificial cheese slices
  • shortening
  • bubble gum
  • fruit roll-ups
  • cereals such as Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs
  • unpopped kernels from microwave popcorn
  • large pits, like those from avocados and peaches
  • McDonald’s french fries
  • Oreo cookies
  • jello

Your guess is as good as mine!

13 thoughts on “Green Bin or Trash Bin?

  1. i HATE plastic cheese. i threw up having a cheese burger at burger king when i was 8 and haven’t had one since. they are the most vial thing on the planet. and i’ve eaten snake!

    considering marshmellows are made from animal stuff, i think they’re ok for the green bin. plastic cheese, uncertain. mcd fries, well there are never any left, so that isn’t really an issue. jello, again animal stuff so we are good. though why people make and eat the stuff is beyond me! shortening? i don’t even know what that is! (non baker).

  2. CapnPlanet

    I would put all of those things in the green bin.

    Does your waste company give you any guidelines about what should/shouldn’t go in?

  3. MrsCarlSagan

    Although all those items are questionable “foodstuffs”, I would put them in the green bin.To avoid any confusion I would just keep it all out of the house (with the exception of the avocados and peaches) so I wouldn’t have to decide.

  4. Jay

    I read on the Ottawa Green Bin’s twitter that gum should go in the garbage. But besides that I would put the rest in the green bin:)

    1. CapnPlanet

      Oddly enough, one thing we’ve been instructed NOT to put in green bins down here is facial tissue. I have no idea why.

  5. Marianne

    I’d put everything in the green bin except the bubblegum.

    I’d also speculate that the reason for leaving out the facial tissues is perhaps one of hygiene and not spreading germs?

    1. CapnPlanet

      Interesting hypothesis. I’m not sure, though — can bacteria/viruses live very long outside their hosts? If so, there are probably lots of other things that are not prohibited from the green bin that could be infected anyway.

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