Using your green cart
Using your cart as part of the Green Cart program is easy and will quickly become a part of your everyday routine:
- Collecting food waste in your kitchen
- Collecting yard and pet waste
- Cleaning your kitchen pail and green cart
Be sure to set your green cart out for collection by 7 a.m. every week on your collection day. Find your collection day.
Make sure your materials are not packed in too tightly or they will not fall out of the cart during pickup.
Collecting food waste in the kitchen
#1 Line your kitchen pail (optional)
While your food scraps can be placed in the cart loose, you can control odours and keep your cart clean by using a compostable bag, paper bag or newspaper liner in your kitchen pail.
Store the pail in a convenient location in your kitchen.
See a list of approved compostable bags and where to buy them.
You can also make a kitchen pail liner out of newspaper or flyers.
Follow our quick kitchen pail liner folding instructions.
#2 Fill the pail with food scraps
Put your food waste into the kitchen pail. All food, including meat, bones and dairy can go in - just scrape your plate.
See a list of what can go in your green cart.
We suggest wrapping meat scraps and bones in paper towel or old newspaper before putting them into your kitchen pail. Consider freezing meat and fish waste until collection day, especially during warm weather. You can also sprinkle a small amount of baking soda in your kitchen pail and green cart.
During warm weather, store your green cart in your garage or another shaded spot.
Preventing insects and maggots
- Trap fruit flies by placing a small amount of cider vinegar covered with plastic wrap with several small holes in it.
- Keep ripened fruit or vegetables in the fridge. Clean your sink drains and washcloths often.
- Maggots are the larva of the housefly. They are attracted to cooked and raw meat and will lay eggs on these items. We suggest using compostable or paper bags as an effective way to prevent maggots since it prevents houseflies from getting into contact with your food waste.
- You can also open the lid of the green cart to allow birds to eat the maggots; or sprinkle salt, white vinegar or garden lime on the maggots.
#3 Empty the pail into your green cart
When your pail is full, tie off the compostable bag or roll down the newspaper liner and put it into your green cart.
We suggest emptying your kitchen pail into your green cart every two-to-three days. Put out your green cart for collection every available pickup even if it's not full. Always keep the lid of the kitchen pail and green cart closed.
Collecting yard and pet waste
#1 Fill your green cart first
Always fill your green cart first. Yard waste can be put in loose or in paper yard waste bags in the cart.
TIP: Leave your grass clippings on the lawn where possible. They break down quickly, add nutrients back to the soil and saves on room in your green bin.
#2 If your green cart is full, use extra paper yard waste bags
If your green cart is full, you can put out extra paper yard waste bags for pickup.
- Extra bags can be set 0.5 m (2 ft) away from your cart.
- Roll the tops of your paper yard waste bags closed to prevent spills and allow your collector to pick up the bags
- Make sure your bags are not too heavy. If you can lift the bag with one hand, it's ok.
- Do not approach the driver when you see the garbage truck coming. Make sure your carts are out for 7 a.m. on your collection day.
Please help keep your driver safe by making sure to fill the cart as much as possible before leaving extra bags out. It's ok if the lid is slightly ajar.
During busier periods, we will collect material inside the cart, but may limit the number of extra bags we pick up to make sure everyone gets service. If some of your extra bags are not picked up, store them on your property until the next week's collection.
NOTE: Yard waste in plastic bags will not be collected.
Preventing items from sticking
Wet materials can tend to stick to the cart making it difficult to come out during pickup. In the winter, this can also lead to material freezing inside the cart. Follow these tips to prevent material from sticking inside the cart.
- Crumple up flyer sheets into balls and put in the bottom of your green cart. You can also use newspaper, paper bags or soiled pizza boxes.
- Use the end of a broomstick to stir and loosen up the material in the bottom of the cart before pickup day.
Filling the cart
- Layer wet material (food scraps, grass clippings) with dry material (leaves, newspaper).
- Put material into your cart closer to pickup day so it spends less time outside.
- If possible, give your cart a shake prior to rolling it out to dislodge any frozen contents.
- If grass clippings are sticking to your cart, put them into a paper yard waste bag.
- Wrap food with high moisture content in soiled boxes, flyers, or newspapers.
- Freeze your food scraps in your freezer before putting it out in your green cart.
- Carts have a 60 kg weight limit. If you can easily roll the cart, it should be ok.
- If you are storing extra yard waste in paper yard waste bags, make sure you can easily lift the bag. When your green cart is empty after collection day, lift the extra paper yard waste bag into your cart.
- Find out where to buy paper yard waste bags.
- Learn how to set out your carts on collection day.
- Find your Green Cart collection day.
For more yard waste options, see our Spring Yard Waste page.
#3 Put pet waste in compostable bags
Pet waste must be in a certified compostable bag or paper bag, and tied/rolled-closed, before going in your green cart. This is for the safety of your collector and will also help limit odours and prevent from sticking to your cart.
Cleaning your kitchen pail and green cart
Clean your kitchen pail
Rinse your kitchen pail with hot water or place inside your dishwasher to clean.
Store your kitchen pail under the sink or on the counter for easy access.
Please note: The City does not provide replacement kitchen pails. You can purchase a new pail at most hardware and grocery stores. You can also reuse any container with a lid such as an ice cream bucket.
Clean your green cart
Rinse your cart with a hose and pour the water on the grass/gravel. Don't pour dirty water down the storm drain.
If material is getting stuck inside the cart, use a broom or shovel handle to loosen them.
Consider storing your green and blue carts in an easy to access location since most garbage can be recycled or composted so these carts will be used most often. The black cart can be stored in a different location since it will only be put out for collection every two weeks.
If your carts are broken or missing, please call 311 for a free repair or replacement.