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Proper Garbage Disposal Etiquette

Disposing of household garbage seems like a practice in common sense, however, many of us have never been taught nor given much thought on how we should do it correctly. In consideration of your neighbors and the Cedarwood Member policies, it's important to use the following guidelines to ensure you are using the best etiquette in discarding your trash. You don't want your back porch being the neighborhood sight for sore eyes or a reason to receive a fine do you?

trash bag by cedarwood house


1. Properly secure your trash bins.

At Cedarwood Cooperative, there are plenty of raccoons and squirrels ready to take advantage of a loosely contained garbage bag. Unfortunately, even a one-time feeding can be the critter invitation to dine regularly on your porch. This is very unsafe to the whole community as raccoons carry disease and can attack if startled or provoked. Properly securing your trash also ensures you are in compliance with the grounds policies.

Try this: if your trash receptacle has handles, secure the lid by stretching a bungee cord from one handle to the other. If your receptacle does not have handles, make the lid too heavy to lift by placing a large brick or stone on top of it.

If you have a metal can and are handy with power tools, drill holes on the lid and base of the can and install a latch hook. But make sure you latch it locked every time you take out the trash.

While not exactly ideal, if you have a couple hundred bucks laying around, you could also buy a "bear-proof" garbage can that requires a multiple finger combination to open. Keep in mind however, this method requires that you then unlock the can on trash day so the men can dump it.

2. Do not dispose of food before trash day.

There are two great methods for preventing food from making its way into your trash before garbage day. Doing one or both will significantly help keep critters away as they won't have anything yummy to smell.

Option one: save a small plastic ice cream bucket, toss kitchen scraps into it and continue to store in the freezer. The day of trash pick-up, empty the contents of the bucket into your main garbage bag and set out for the trash man. This prevents unwanted odors from spoiling food in your trash.

The second option is to pull leftovers and expired food from your fridge and discard it into one small bag the morning of trash day only. Then, toss the small bag into your main garbage bag and set it out for pick up. This also prevents odor from developing in your household garbage can as well as your outdoor garbage can.

These two methods are sure to keep your garbage can from becoming your neighborhood squirrel's next meal mid week and keep your back porch from becoming a hot mess!

squirrel on log in park forest

3. Periodically wash out your garbage can.

If your trash can has ever been raided by an animal or had food spilled in it, you might have noticed both a horrid smell and the presence of maggots. It happens quickly especially in the hot summer air. Prevent this entire situation by regularly rinsing out your garbage can with a cup of bleach and some hot water.

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

Overfilled trash cans are not only unsightly to everyone who passes by, but they can also lead to leakage of the items inside the can. Things like grease, oil or old food can spill out of an overfilled trash can and leave stains on the concrete. With recently renovated porches throughout our Cedarwood community, damage to your porch can lead to problems with management. This situation is best avoided by simply not overfilling your trash.

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. With the beautiful forest preserve as our back yard, squirrels and raccoon visitors are to be expected, however, we can prevent them from becoming too comfortable around our community if we work together to prevent feeding them with our leftovers in our recycle bins as well.

1. Clean out Recycle Bins.

Just as we highly recommend washing out your trash bin, we also strongly encourage you to wash out your recycle bin. Bees can become a huge issue if even one drop of sugary liquid, like soda pop, leaks into your bin. If you notice a spill, clean it up right away to avoid an influx of wasps and periodically wash the bin out to keep it clean.

bees in bee hive in park forest

2. 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.

Members Only:

The following are community wide guidelines for discarding trash:

  • 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 improperly discarded.

  • 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 taking care of your trash properly. Avoid getting fines and prevent unhappy neighbors by using the recommendations above.

Do you have any great ideas that we didn't discuss here? Leave a comment to let us know!

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