British Columbia

Pizza crusts in the green bin? OK. Deer carcass? Not OK

The discovery in Nanaimo, B.C., prompted a "friendly reminder" from the city to locals about what belongs in a green bin and what doesn't.

City of Nanaimo issues 'friendly reminder' to residents after processing staff make grim discovery

A deer carcass was found in a green compost bin left out in Nanaimo late last week, prompting a 'friendly reminder' from the city about what belongs in the bins and what doesn't. (Marc-Antoine Mageau/Radio-Canada)

David Thompson has worked with waste for a long time.

He's seen many, many things pop up in garbage and recycling bins. 

He has never seen a deer carcass in a compost bin.

"Not much surprises me these days," said Thompson, manager of santitation for the City of Nanaimo. "But ... yeah."

The carcass was tossed in a green bin and rolled out to the street for collection last week. Workers at a processing plant made the grim discovery, prompting a "friendly reminder" to locals about what belongs in a green bin and what doesn't.

(Deer does not.)

'When it comes to a whole carcass ... '

Thompson said it's unclear exactly what happened to the deer, but the belief is that it had been hunted and butchered. Large bones and chunks of meat had been wrapped "in a big, cotton bag" before being placed in the bin.

The city improved its curbside sanitiation program for yard waste and kitchen scraps earlier this year, which meant larger carts for locals.

Residents are allowed to toss kitchen scraps in the compost, but Thompson said deer is just too big.

"Turkeys and chickens and ham bones and things like that coming out of your kitchen — absolutely acceptable in the green bin. They're small scale and they can be broken down in the process that we have here," he said.

"But when it comes to a whole carcass or an animal the size of a deer, or roadkill and things like that, they need to be handled differently."

The B.C. Conservation Service has said unused animal remains should be taken to a rendering plant for disposal or dropped off in the bush, far from any recreational areas.

'Sometimes things get confusing'

Thompson said the city's social media post about the deer sparked a big response from locals.

"Sometimes things get confusing so we just clarified that," the manager said. "A lot of questions came back to us about the definition of carcasses and things like that."

Thompson has seen diapers, dead crows and roadkill in bins over the years — as well as some things he can't be sure of at all.

"We've had people try to put metal safes in the recycling bin, locked up ... We're not even sure what's in those," he said.

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