Calgary Green Cart: Composting Kitchen Scraps

As you may know, I tend to go on about food waste… I’ve been known to orchestrate entire meals around using up a half bunch of slimy cilantro or some wilting kale. I also get a lot of questions about composting, and so when The City of Calgary asked if I would post some guidelines around using your green bin, it seemed like a good idea. (Also, I needed an excuse to share this recipe for compost muffins, so named because you can toss just about anything into them—any grated root vegetable, sweet potato, apples, pears, or you could add berries, dried fruit, and any dairy product nearing the end of its lifespan (yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, milk).

Making the most of food scraps

Like most Calgarians, we have the small composting bin that came with our large green bin sitting under the sink, ready to receive banana peels, eggshells, coffee grounds and the like. It’s great, and fills up surprisingly fast. (Though I occasionally inspire myself to collect veggie scraps in a zip-lock bag in the freezer to eventually make stock, generally the bags take up too much real estate and I don’t get around to it.) Of course I go to great lengths to use up all the bits—bones to make stock, extra leafy greens can be frozen or cooked down and eaten in greater quantity, or whizzed into pesto (even carrot tops!), and squishy fruit always gets transformed into small-batch skillet jam. I even go so far as to fry or roast russet potato peelings if I’m peeling a lot of them to make mashed potatoes—truly, these are surprisingly delicious. And practically free!

I used to think it didn’t much matter if my kitchen scraps made it into the green bin—it would compost in the garbage anyway—but it turns out food and yard waste doesn’t break down in the landfill, it ends up creating greenhouse gas emissions and leachate (a toxic liquid that needs to be treated), so it’s best to keep those bits out of the landfill.

Composting in Calgary: what can go in the green cart

So! here’s what can go in your Calgary green cart:

Food scraps like fruit and vegetable peels and cores, meat, bones, breads, grains, eggshells and leftovers scraped off your plate. You can also compost paper, like napkins and paper towels, that has food on it. (The greasy paper towel from draining your doughnuts? That too!)

Yard waste like branches, leaves, grass, pinecones, plants, flowers.
Pet waste, including all types of kitty litter, dog waste, animal bedding, feathers and fur—but pet waste must be bagged.

Calgary Green Cart Composting

Keep plastic out of your Calgary green cart

Of course, it’s vital that we keep plastic bags out of the compost bin. Compostable shopping bags like they have at Calgary Co-op are great—I love to use them and they’re only 10 cents each, far cheaper than buying them by the box, even from Costco. (If you choose another brand, make sure you’re using certified compostable bags, which will have logos printed on the boxes and the bags as well, so you know they’ll break down properly at the composting facility.) Don’t get confused by bags that are labelled “biodegradable” – those are still plastic bags and are no good for your Calgary green bin.

I have a ton of garden and yard bits this year—it can fill up my bin quickly (especially with branchy things and big weeds), and they ask that you use paper yard waste bags and roll the tops closed if your green cart is full.

So there you go—it’s pretty simple, really, and so great that The City of Calgary has made it so easy to compost.

And here’s a recipe for a flavourful muffin that’s reminiscent of carrot cake, and can be made with any number of late-summer veggies – plus a grated apple or pear, which are starting to show up at farmers’ markets now too.

Compost Muffins

AuthorJulie

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (white or brown)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 packed cups grated carrots, beets, squash, sweet potato, parsnips, rutabaga (or a combination)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit
1/4 cup flaked coconut, sweetened or unsweetened (optional)
1/2 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1/2 cup yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk (or milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice stirred in)
2 tsp vanilla
1 small apple or pear, coarsely grated (don't bother peeling it)

1

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray muffin cups with nonstick spray or line them with paper liners.

2

In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add the carrots, pecans, raisins, and coconut and toss to combine well.

3

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to the carrot mixture with the grated apple and stir just until the batter is combined.

4

Fill the prepared muffin tins almost to the top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the muffins are golden and the tops are springy to the touch. Makes about 2 dozen muffins.

Category,

Ingredients

 2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 cup sugar (white or brown)
 2 tsp cinnamon
 2 tsp baking soda
 1/2 tsp salt
 2 packed cups grated carrots, beets, squash, sweet potato, parsnips, rutabaga (or a combination)
 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
 1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit
 1/4 cup flaked coconut, sweetened or unsweetened (optional)
 1/2 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil
 3 large eggs
 1/2 cup yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk (or milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice stirred in)
 2 tsp vanilla
 1 small apple or pear, coarsely grated (don't bother peeling it)

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray muffin cups with nonstick spray or line them with paper liners.

2

In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add the carrots, pecans, raisins, and coconut and toss to combine well.

3

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to the carrot mixture with the grated apple and stir just until the batter is combined.

4

Fill the prepared muffin tins almost to the top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the muffins are golden and the tops are springy to the touch. Makes about 2 dozen muffins.

Compost Muffins
Share

About Julie

4 comments on “Calgary Green Cart: Composting Kitchen Scraps

  1. Jennifer Jo
    August 18, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    Eggplant also works! I just made an eggplant and zucchini bread with walnuts and dried dates. So good!

    • Julie
      August 24, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      Oh that’s so smart!!

  2. sillygirl
    August 18, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    I have even been know to BUY an ingredient to not waste a bit of another. Actually we have had some really good meals that way!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.