Hopefully you got a compost bin under the Christmas tree, because new restrictions on disposing of food waste in the garbage begin January 1. Food (including meat and dairy products), along with other compostable material such as food-soiled cardboard, paper napkins and towels, coffee grounds, and egg cartons will no longer be allowed in your garbage can.
According to Seattle Public Utilities, more than a third of the material that the city sends to a landfill in Oregon is made up of compostable items, and since 2005, 400,000 tons of food have been saved from the landfill by individuals and businesses who already compost their food and yard waste. Much of the material is turned into compost that is used in local parks and gardens.
Garbage collectors will be monitoring cans, and if your garbage contains more than 10 percent compostable material, a $1 fine will be added to your next garbage bill. See here for compost cart pricing, and to learn about which items can be composted. So, challenge yourself in the new year to cut down on your waste and compost as much as possible!