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Disposing of Garbage Properly

We all produce it, we all dread taking it out and we certainly all can't stand it when we have to clean up behind a critter who has gotten into it. And at our Cedarwood Housing Cooperative, there are plenty of raccoons and squirrels ready to take on the garbage challenge. That's why we've compiled a list on "Garbage Disposal Etiquette" to help ease the pain of dealing with trash and to keep our Cedarwood members in compliance with the grounds policies.

squirrel on log at coop

1. Properly secure your trash bins.

If your garbage can has handles on the sides and a lid, use a bungee cord to hook one handle to the other by resting the cord on top of the lid. If your can has no handles and a flip top lid, try placing a large flat brick or stone on top of the closed lid to make it too heavy for the critters to get in. If you have a metal can and are handy with some power tools, drill holes and attach a flip latch lock to opposite sides of the can. Install the other portion of the lock on the lid and snap it into place every time you take out the trash. If you have a couple hundred bucks laying around, you can also buy a "bear-proof" garbage can that requires a multiple finger opening trick plus some that lock with a key, others that use a combination lock.

2. Do not dispose of food before trash day.

The way I see it, you can easily do this one of two ways, and please comment below if you have another way. First off, save an old plastic ice-cream bucket and keep it in your freezer. Anytime you have food kitchen scraps, toss them into the bucket and into the freezer. The day of trash pick-up, empty it into your main garbage bag and set out for the trash man. Second, the morning of trash day, go through your refrigerator and pull out any old leftovers and food that has expired. Toss in your main garbage bag and set out for the trash man. These two methods will keep your garbage from becoming your neighborhood squirrel's next meal and YOUR next mess!

3. Periodically wash out your garbage can.

If your trash can has ever been raided and you failed to rinse it out immediately, I believe you know what I'm talking about. The horrid smell! If left too long, maggots will most definitely find their way into your can. Prevent this whole mess from happening by washing out your trash can periodically or whenever a critter makes its way into your trash. I personally like a bucket of hot water with bleach and dish soap, but if you have another method, feel free to share below.

4. Do not fill cans to the point of overflowing.

Enough said.

garbage outside coop

Recycle bins

All this work on your home's garbage cans; we can't fail to warn you about your recycling bin. Proper disposing etiquette is important for recycling bins as well. Again, at our housing cooperative in Park Forest IL, we have plenty of raccoons and squirrels just waiting for us to slip up. With the beautiful forest preserve as our back yard, it is to be expected, however, we can seriously prevent it as a co-op if we work together.

1. Bundle recyclables and secure them.

Placing loose items in your co-op recycling bin is prohibited because loose papers, bottles and cardboard can and do go flying as soon as you set it out on the curb. Place all recyclables in a bag, properly secured and set the bag inside of the recycling bin.

2. Clean out Recycle Bins.

Just as we highly recommended washing out your park forest cooperative trash bin, we also strongly encourage you to wash out your recycle bin. The big problem here is bees and small critters/rodents. If a soda bottle was placed in the bin unsecured, and some liquid spilled out, watch out, the bees are coming! Just a small drop of sugary liquid can attract a ton of bees eager to get more. If you notice a spill clean it up right away to avoid an infestation and periodically wash the bin out to keep it clean.

bees on honeycomb

Members Only:

Here's the serious get-down about the trash situation...

  • Absolutely no household garbage is allowed in the court pickup area.

  • A $25 fine will be automatically issued on the first offense for any garbage/refuse/yard-waste/pet-defecation-products.

  • No warnings are issued.

  • Fines double for subsequent violations.

  • Violations are cumulative.

  • Repairs to concrete and railings will be charged to members.

Please, actively work on garbage etiquette whenever disposing of anything from your home. Do what needs to be done to keep our Cedarwood Coop looking its best. Avoid getting any fines by following the above recommendations for proper garbage etiquette. Thank you for your cooperation.

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