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.
Note: During COVID-19, paper towels must be placed in a plastic bag to protect waste collection staff from the virus.
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.
- 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.
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.
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
email@example.com; 613-744-2555 poste 3747
- Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de L’Ontario : Pierre Michaud Whalen, Responsable du programme ISO 14000 pour les élèves
firstname.lastname@example.org 613-742-8960 poste 2138
- Ottawa Carleton District School Board: Tom Thistle, Environmental Management Coordinator
email@example.com; 613-596-8211 ext. 3440
- Ottawa Catholic School Board: Gerry Sancartier, Property and Operations Officer
firstname.lastname@example.org; 613-224-4455 ext. 2300
For More Information
General Inquiries: 3-1-1 (613-580-2400)