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Green bin and leaf and yard waste

How does the Green Bin program work?

Organics recycling is an important part of the City of Ottawa’s long term waste strategy. Diverting residential organic waste away from landfill saves the City millions of dollars by reducing the need for a new landfill site.

Your green bin is collected each and every week, 52 weeks a year.

Roughly 45 per cent of Ottawa’s garbage (by weight) is compostable organic material that can be put into the green bin. Just as Ottawa residents separate recyclable materials from their garbage, the Green Bin program makes it easy to separate organics for curb-side pickup.

Use the small, specially-designed kitchen container to collect organic materials including kitchen scraps (vegetable, fruits, meat, fish, bones, dairy products, coffee grounds and filters). Simply empty the organics into the large green bin for curb-side pickup.

Other acceptable items in the Green Bin program include kitty litter, ashes, sawdust, animal bedding and many others.

The organic material is brought to an indoor composting facility owned by Orgaworld Canada located in an industrial park off of Hawthorne Road where it will be turned into compost.  The compost is used on farmer's fields in Eastern Ontario.

Orgawold is responsible for the marketing and sale of the finished compost. The City receives 5 per cent of the finished compost.

Note that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) requires that odours not be detectable at the property boundary of the Orgaworld facility. Any odour complaints should be directed to the MOECC.

When is the green bin collected?


Your green bin is collected each and every week, 52 weeks a year.

Residents are reminded to put their green bin and recycling out with their garbage by 7 am for collection on their assigned pick-up day. Lock the lid to prevent animals and pests from getting into the bin. Leaf and yard waste can be used to top up the green bin. It can also be placed in a separate container such as an unused garbage can with the lid off to ensure that collection workers see the leaf and yard waste.

Please refer to the Collection Calendar for your collection schedule.

Get a blue bin, black bin or green bin

  • Get a blue, black or green bin at Canadian Tire stores.
  • The City will supply one blue and one black bin and one green bin per household.
  • Extra recycling bins and green bins can be purchased at Canadian Tire stores in Ottawa.
  • The Green Bin Program is available in apartment and other multi-residential properties. Please contact your property manager for more information.

Damaged or Missing Containers?

If you have a damaged, broken or missing recycling bin or green bin, you can request a replacement by calling 3-1-1.

New Property

Did you recently move and containers are missing from your new property?  Request coupons for replacement bins to be redeemed at any Ottawa Canadian Tire. Please use the following to request coupons:

Do not use other bins for organics collection

Please use the City of Ottawa green bin for organics collection. The bins have been specially designed and tested and are fitted for pick up by an automatic lifter on the collection vehicles.

Approved containers

For more details on approved container sizes, visit the City’s Solid Waste Management By-law.  

What goes in your green bin

Organics recycling is an important part of the City of Ottawa’s long term Waste Strategy. Diverting residential organic waste away from landfill saves the City millions of dollars and reduces the need for additional landfill sites.

Your green bin is now being collected each and every week, 52 weeks a year.

Have a specific item? Check the Waste Explorer

Food waste or scraps

  • Baking ingredients, herbs and spices
  • Bread, cereals, crackers and grains
  • Candy and gum
  • Chips, popcorn and nuts
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Cookies, cakes, muffins and pastries
  • Dairy products (cheese, sour cream)
  • Dough
  • Eggs and egg shells
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Jams, jellies, marmalades or chutney
  • Leftover cooking oils, lard, shortening, fat, butter and margarine
  • Meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, bones and scraps
  • Nuts and shells
  • Pasta, beans, rice and couscous
  • Peanut butter
  • Pet food
  • Pits (all types)
  • Salad dressing, mayonnaise, vinegar, sauces, marinades, dips and gravy
  • Seeds
  • Tea and tea bags

Yard waste

  • Branches, twigs and hedge trimmings
  • Leaves
  • Plants and weeds
  • Grass clippings

Other acceptable items

  • Animal bedding (e.g. bird and hamster cages)
  • Barbeque ashes
  • Butcher’s meat wrap
  • Cold fireplace ash
  • Cotton balls
  • Dryer lint
  • Floor sweepings, vacuum bags and vacuum contents
  • Food-soiled paper towels, napkins and tissues
  • Food-soiled pizza boxes only (clean pizza boxes should go in the black bin)
  • Household plants, including soil
  • Kitty litter
  • Microwave popcorn bags
  • Paper coffee cups, plates and muffin wrappers
  • Pet fur, hair and feathers
  • Soiled paper, boxboard and cardboard
  • Sugar, flour and potato paper bags
  • Waxed paper, cardboard and cold drink cups
  • Wooden popsicle sticks and toothpicks

Not allowed in the green bin

  • Plastic bags of any kind (even the compostable varieties aren’t allowed)
    Plastic impedes the composting process and prevents the flow of air through the organic material, causing it to smell. It also reduces the quality of compost and increases the cost for processing. Plastic residue still needs to be disposed of after composting and increases the amount of material that must be screened out of compost and sent to the landfill.
  • Diapers and sanitary products (as they contain plastics)
  • Dog feces

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Green bin tips

Keep it clean

  1. Line your green bin with flyers, newspaper or yard waste paper bags to help keep it clean.
  2. Rinse your green bin with a garden hose from time to time, especially if you don’t line your bin with paper.
  3. Rinse your green bin with lemon juice, vinegar or baking soda to reduce odours and keep bugs out. 
  4. Spray your green bin with cooking oil in the winter to minimize risk of items freezing to the bin and ensure easy removal of waste.
  5. Keeping your meat or fish scraps in the freezer until collection day helps reduce odours.

Keep animals and bugs away

  1. Keep your green bin away from fences and deck railings so that animals can't get into it.
  2. If you do place your bin near a fence or deck railing, secure it with a bungee cord so it doesn’t get knocked over.
  3. Sprinkling a strong smelling biodegradable repellent such as vinegar or detergent on your green bin helps keep pests away.
  4. Remember to lock the lid to keep animals out of your green bin.
  5. Capture fruit flies with a bowl of vinegar covered with plastic wrap with several small holes in it. Empty as required.
  6. Put salt or vinegar on maggots to kill them. If maggots appear in the green bin, a fly has laid eggs on some exposed food waste.
  7. Peppermint oil, cayenne pepper, chili pepper or hot sauce can act as anti-gnawing repellents and help deter animals from taking an interest in your green bin.

Make collecting easier

  1. Switch your kitchen bin for your garbage pail and keep your garbage pail somewhere else.
  2. Keep indoor collection containers in your washrooms. Bathroom tissue, facial tissue and paper towels can be placed in the green bin.
  3. Invite the green bin to your next BBQ. It’s a great party guest for food scraps, paper napkins and paper plates.

Alternatives to buying a bin liner

  • Use newspaper or any other paper-based product (like cereal boxes or waxed milk cartons) to line the bottom of your container(s).
  • Make a homemade bin liner [PDF - 13 KB] from old newspaper. Get the kids involved and have fun with it. One session could keep you in paper bags for weeks.
  • Paper coffee cups and waxed paper coffee cups go in your green bin, not in your black bin or blue bin. They can be used to hold cooking grease or kitchen sink guck before you put these things in your green bin.
  • Use empty cardboard cereal, cracker and cookie boxes to collect food scraps in your kitchen. Most of them fit perfectly in your kitchen bin

What not to do

  • The City's Green Bin program does not accept compostable or biodegradable plastic bin liners.
  • Clothing and textiles do not belong in your green bin. If you cannot donate this item, it can be disposed of through your regular curbside garbage.

Need paper liners for the green bin or kitchen container?

While it’s not necessary to use paper liners for your green bin, they are available at most major retailers. You can also use leaf and yard waste paper bags in the larger green bin.

Paper liners are available for sale at:

  • Canadian Tire
  • Giant Tiger
  • Home Depot
  • Home Hardware
  • Loblaws
  • Metro
  • Rona
  • Sobeys
  • Zellers
  • Costco
  • Walmart

Leaf and yard waste

Things to remember

  • Only use compostable paper yard waste bags, a garbage can or cardboard boxes when setting out leaf and yard waste for collection
  • Ensure containers and bundles are no more than 15 kg (33 lb.) in weight
  • Extra leaf and yard waste goes in the green bin
  • Branches are to be tied in bundles of less than 1.2 m (4 ft.) in length and 60 cm (2 ft.) in width
  • Individual branches should be less than 10 cm (4 in.) in diameter
  • Fruit and pumpkins can be included
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn.
  • Leaf and yard waste will not be collected as regular garbage
  • Please note: All leaf and yard waste must be bundled using biodegradable material. Twine or string is the best option. Wire, duct tape and plastic twine will not biodegrade.

These items are not collected

  • Plastic bags are NOT accepted
  • Any material or tree cuttings over 10 cm (4 in.) in diameter
  • No earth, rocks or sod
  • No logs or stumps
  • Leaf and yard waste should not be mixed with any other type of waste

Leaf and yard waste may not be disposed of on the street, sidewalk, boulevard or in parks in accordance with the City's Parks and Facilities By-law No. 2004-276. Anyone charged with this offence may be subject to a fine.

Avoid pick-up problems

  • Clearly identify that the garbage can or cardboard box is for yard waste
  • Leave the lid off your cans and cardboard boxes on dry days
  • Separate the yard waste cans from recycling and garbage by placing them on the opposite side of the driveway when possible

Reusing your grass clippings

Grass is rich in nutrients and can be used to keep your lawn healthy and fertile. Yard waste and grass clippings make up to 29 per cent of residential garbage during spring and summer. Use your grass clippings to feed your lawn and garden.

Leave clippings on your lawn

Grass clippings that are 6 mm to 13 mm (1/4" to 1/2") in length can be left on the lawn. Longer clippings should be placed in your garden or composter. Grass should always be cut before it goes to seed.

Put them in your garden

Clippings are a soil enriching mulch for your garden. Scatter them in thin layers around flowers, vegetables, bushes and trees.

Put them in your composter

Clippings placed in a composter should be mixed with other compostable waste such as leaves, garden refuse and kitchen scraps. Your grass clippings will quickly decompose into rich compost.

NOTE: If you used herbicides, leave your grass clippings on the lawn. After the fourth cutting, resume placing grass clippings in your garden, bushes or in your composter.

Buying potting soil

Municipal potting soil for sale

Hours:

Trail Waste Facility

Monday to Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
Sunday: Closed 

Use quality potting soil from the City's Trail Waste Facility to help your garden grow. The potting soil is sold from March until November (while quantities last).

Potting soil prices

Payment Options

The Trail Waste Facility accepts payment by cash, cheque, Interac, money order, Visa and MasterCard.

Loading Your potting soil

The Trail Waste Facility is located at 4475 Trail Road, off Moodie Drive, south of Fallowfield Road. Please bring a shovel and containers for loading your own potting soil and wear appropriate footwear. For more information please call 3-1-1 or email 311@ottawa.ca.

Green Bins in Schools program

The Green Bins in Schools program is an extension of the City’s residential green bin program, and provides an excellent opportunity to educate children on how to use the green bin and to promote the benefits of waste diversion.

The program is provided free of charge by the City of Ottawa and offers an excellent hands-on opportunity for students to learn how to divert organic material such as food waste and soiled paper products from landfill. The City provides curbside green bins, classroom-sized containers, program signage, and weekly collection services. 

The Green Bins in Schools program continues to grow every year with more than 230 (and counting!) Ottawa public and private schools now registered.

Benefits of Joining the Program

  • The program is open to all elementary and secondary schools, including private schools. There is no cost to your school or school board for participating.
  • Students are able to learn first-hand about what materials are accepted in the green bin and take this knowledge home to their families.
  • Having a food waste diversion program in place at your school earns an additional three points towards your EcoSchools application.
  • Participating in the Green Bins in Schools program helps students learn about and take action on an important local environmental initiative that contributes to the overall health of our environment.

What goes in the green bin?

Food waste and soiled paper products (e.g. pizza boxes, paper plates, muffin wrappers, paper towels from washrooms) can all go in the green bin. Paper towels with solvents and oil based paints on them cannot go into the green bin. Vegetable or water based ink/paints are acceptable. 

Bagged leaf and yard waste will not be collected through the Green Bins in Schools program.

Where does green bin material go?

Organic waste from the Green Bin in Schools program is converted into compost that is sold to the farming community for use as a soil enhancer for agricultural crops.

Getting Started

  • Ensure your school’s principal is supportive of the program, then complete and submit the online application form. If your browser does not allow you to complete the form, please contact Solid Waste Services to request a copy of the application form.
  • A City waste inspector will contact your school to schedule a site visit to review program details and determine the safest and most convenient location for the bins on collection day.
  • It is recommended that the head caretaker and staff involved in managing the program attend the site meeting as important information will be provided about the program.
  • Following the site visit, the City will arrange for the delivery of the required number of containers and educational material.
  • Once the school has received the containers, the program can begin.

What happens at the site meeting with the Waste Inspector?

During the site visit, the Waste Inspector will explain the program in detail and answer any questions you may have. The collection day set out location for the curbside green bins will be discussed at this meeting and a final location that is away from student drop-off/pick-up zones will be approved.

The Waste Inspector will also explain collection day by-law requirements, along with helping you determine the number and size of containers your school will need. It is recommended that your school’s head caretaker and interested teacher(s) participate in the site visit.

Collection Day

Bins must be set out by 7:00 a.m. on collection day, and no earlier than 6:00 p.m. the night before collection day. Emptied green bins must be returned to school property by 10:00 pm on collection day.

Missed Collections

Green bin collection is between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Please note that collection delays could occur during bad weather and/or during peak leaf and yard waste season (early spring and fall).

If your green bins have not been collected, please call 3-1-1 or submit an online request via Service Ottawa.

Helpful Program Tips

  • Place bins in cafeterias, food preparation areas, classrooms, washrooms and the teachers’ lounge.
  • Minimize odours and avoid fruit flies by emptying indoor bins daily.
  • Wrap food waste and/or use paper liners to keep the bins clean. Students can make origami paper liners for the smaller bins – see the Helpful Program Resources below for details.
  • Hold a program launch event to raise awareness about the program and motivate students and staff to participate.
  • Keep composting messaging top of mind by providing regular program updates, tips and information.
  • Integrate waste diversion into the school curriculum!
  • Involve students from the Eco Club as green bin ambassadors.

Program Signage and Education Material

The City provides program signage for the green bins and brochures/leaflets that provide a list of items accepted in the green bin. A collection calendar that notes the green bin collection day is also provided.

Additional or Replacement Bins

If your school needs additional bins, needs to replace damaged bins, or if you would like to arrange a pickup of bins that are no longer needed, please contact Solid Waste Services or call 3-1-1.

Helpful Program Resources

School Board Contacts

Your school board environmental contact can provide you with promotional materials and additional suggestions to help improve your program.

  • Conseil des écoles catholiques du centre-est: Claude Robineau, Surveillant d'entretien 
    robinc@ecolecatholique.ca; 613 744 2555 poste 3747
  • Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de L’Ontario : André Fillion, Responsable du programme ISO 14000 pour les élèves
    andre.fillion@cepeo.on.ca; (613) 742-8960 poste 2138
  • Ottawa Carleton District School Board: Tom Thistle, Environmental Management Coordinator
    tom.thistle@ocdsb.ca; 613-596-8211 ext 3440 
  • Ottawa Catholic School Board: Gerry Sancartier, Property and Operations Officer
    gerry.sancartier@ocsb.ca; 613-224-4455 ext 2300

For More Information

General Inquiries: 3-1-1 (613-580-2400)
Toll-Free: 1-866-261-9799
TTY: 613-580-2401

Report a problem with green bin collection

Green bins are collected weekly. If the week had a statutory holiday, your regular collection day may occur one day later.

Report a problem with green bin collection

Think outside the bag! Meet the Recylers

Green bin is on a weekly mission to fight waste as a member of The Recyclers.

Did you know that 75 per cent of your household’s waste can easily be recycled or composted?

In fact, 40 per cent of the waste currently being put in Ottawa’s garbage is compostable organic material that can be put into the green bin.

More than 75 per cent of your household waste can be diverted from the landfill. Clean paper products can be recycled in the black bin. Glass, metal, and plastic containers can be recycled in the blue bin. Organic waste can be composted in the green bin.

Your green bin is meant for more than just food scraps. Tissues, napkins, paper towels, paper food wrappings and packaging, kitty litter, and animal bedding can all be put into the green bin and saved from the landfill.

The Recyclers are here to fight waste and help put recyclables where they belong. Green Bin and its alternate sidekicks – Blue and Black Bin – use their powers to battle against waste every week on collection day. Help Green Bin save items around your home from waste’s grip!

Green Bin’s recycling powers keeps organic items from your home out of the garbage and transforms them into compost.

Blue Bin and Black Bin take turns each week using their recycling powers to save household waste items from the garbage and turn them into something new. Blue Bin protects glass, metal, and plastic, while Black Bin looks out for paper and cardboard.

Check out the Recyclers in action:

Visit our YouTube Page and click “show more” for the descriptive video text.

Recycling is everyone’s responsibility.  If we put the wrong products in the wrong Recyclers, contamination happens and waste wins. Not sure where an item belongs? Check out the Waste Explorer.