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Frequently Asked Questions

Green Bin Related Questions

When do my Green Bin organics get collected and what can I include in the bin?

Green Bins are collected weekly on your regular collection day. Items that can be included for collection are as follows:

  • All food waste such as fruits, vegetables, table scraps, meat, fish, poultry, bones, dairy products, fat, bread, rice, pasta, coffee grounds, filters, tea bags, eggshells, etc.
  • Paper fibers such as paper egg cartons, fast food drink trays, paper food cartons, paper plates and cups, soiled paper towels, tissues and serviettes.
  • Other compostable items include house plants, flowers, sawdust and wood shavings, bedding from pet cages, dryer lint and hair.

It is very important to use certified 100 percent compostable bags. See a list of acceptable bags.

Find more information on Green Bin composting and find out what items are acceptable and unacceptable.

For more information on the compost process after your organics have been collected, please visit the Miller Group website.


Where can I get a green bin or replace my broken one?

If you are new to the Region of Durham, new kits which includes a green bin, kitchen catcher, and blue box can be obtained by contacting the Waste Management Centre at 905-579-5264, 1-800-667-5671, or email waste@durham.ca. If your bins are broken, replacements bins are free and can be brought to the Waste Management Centre located at 4600 Garrard Road in Whitby between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.


What can I put into the Green Bin?

When it comes to kitchen food waste, the majority of the time, if you can eat it, the leftovers can go in the Green Bin. Items such as fruits and vegetables, table scraps, meat, fish, dairy products, fat, bread, rice, pasta, coffee grounds, filters, tea bags, eggshells and other various items can be placed into the bin. Even the bones from meat and chicken are compostable!

Paper fibres are acceptable, which includes fast food drink trays, paper food cartons, paper plates and cups. Paper egg cartons, soiled paper towels, tissues and serviettes are all permitted in the program. Other acceptable items are sawdust and wood shavings, bedding from pet cages, dryer lint, and even hair.

Remember however, that food packaging materials, kitty litter, animal waste, plastic bags, diapers and other sanitary products are not permitted in the Region’s Green Bin program. The reason for excluding these materials is our objective to produce the best quality compost, which is free of plastic.


Why should I use my green bin? What are the benefits?

It is important for the future of our planet and the environment to reduce, reuse and recycle waste materials. About 30 per cent of our waste is organic. Plus, with the increased collection of Blue Box materials, which are now picked up weekly with the Green Bin materials, recyclables are expected to increase by 20 per cent. That’s even more items being redirected from landfills.

The Region has a goal: to divert more 70 per cent of materials from landfill. We can create compost with compostable materials and put them to good use, instead of sending them to landfill. It is no different than the waste that previously would have been generated—the only change is that it is now being separated and diverted into a separate kitchen container.


Where can I purchase compostable liner bags? How do I know they are acceptable?

Residents are reminded that only bags bearing one of two logos are acceptable in the Region’s program. Within Durham Region, residents are encouraged to look for these logos when purchasing liner bags in retail stores in their community.

These bags are 100 per cent compostable and are made from all natural products, such as cornstarch. Unlike plastic, these bags do not need to be removed before processing, as they simply become part of the finished compost product.

A list of retailers is available here.


Why do I have to purchase compostable liner bags? Can’t I use plastic ones?

Plastic bags are not permissible within the Region’s Green Bin program because they do not breakdown or degrade, so residents are asked to purchase 100 per cent compostable bags, use paper liner bags, or instead, wrap contents in newspaper.

Plastic does not completely break down, making it very costly and inefficient to separate and remove it from compostable material. Plastic often remains in the processed material, which means lower-grade compost. Bags that are 100 per cent compostable break down naturally as the organics begin to decompose.


I already have a composter in my back yard. Why should I participate in this program?

Residents with a back yard composter are encouraged to continue this process. However, items that cannot be composted in this outlet, such as bones, meat, fish, dairy products, and paper waste are compostable in the Regional program. Residents are encouraged to place these items out weekly in your green bin for curbside food waste composting collection.


Why are there odours from the Green Bin?

Some residents have noticed odours coming from their Green Bins. To ensure no odours escape the household unit, residents are reminded to lock it after each use. The curbside bin also has a locking device so that when placed at the curb, animals should not be able to unlock the lid and gain access to the materials inside.

There are several ways to keep odours at a minimum. Residents can place newspaper at the bottom of the unit to help absorb any odours that may accumulate; or, wrap meat or bones in newspaper or paper towels. During hot weather, put meat waste in the freezer and on the day of collection, place the frozen waste directly in the green bin for collection.

In order to reduce odour, it is advisable to sanitize the Green Bin frequently. The sprinkling of baking soda is also recommended.


Will the Green Bin attract pests or rodents?

The Green Bin is designed to be pest resistant with a lockable, tight-fitting lid. If you do experience any pests, try some of these tips:

  • Wrap food waste with paper (two to three sheets of newspaper works well).
  • Rinse your cart and kitchen container with water on a weekly basis after it has been emptied.
  • Set out your curbside bin weekly—even if it is not full. This will reduce the amount of time for pests to establish a new home.

Will the Green Bin attract flies, maggots or fruit flies?

Because both the household and curbside Green Bins have a lockable, tight-fitting lid, flies, maggots or fruit flies should not be present.

If maggots appear in the green bin, a fly has laid eggs on some exposed food waste. Sprinkle vinegar or lemon juice on maggots to kill them.

Fruit flies are most common during warm months. To capture them, fill a bowl of vinegar, cover with plastic wrap, and punch out several small holes. Empty as required.


Where can I learn more about the Green Bin program?

To learn more about the Region’s Green Bin program, visit www.durhamregionwaste.ca or, contact the Region at 905-579-5264, 1-800-667-5671, or email waste@durham.ca.


How do I set up a backyard composting system?

Composters are available from the Region of Durham. For more information on obtaining a composter call the Region's Recycling Centre at 905-579-5264, or 1-800-667-5671.

For more information on composting, please refer to your residential waste collection calendar, or visit Composting Council of Canada.

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