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Food Waste Composting

Materials Collected

Place these items in your green bin

Food waste is to be separated from the regular garbage and set out along the curb each week in a large green bin. This food waste material will be composted at a facility in Pickering.

Food Waste:

Fruits and vegetables, table scraps, meat, fish, poultry, bones, dairy products, fat, bread, rice, pasta, coffee grounds, filters, tea bags, eggshells, etc.

Paper Fibre:

Paper egg cartons, fast food drink trays, paper food cartons, paper plates and unlined paper cups, soiled paper towels, and tissues and serviettes.

Other Compostable Items:

House plants, flowers, sawdust and wood shavings, bedding from pet cages, dryer lint and hair.

Materials Not Collected

Do not place these items in your green bin
  • Aluminum foil
  • Baby wipes
  • Bandages
  • Compostable Chip Bags
  • Cigarette butts or ashes
  • Clothing/textiles 
  • Coffee cups
  • Corks
  • Dead animals (excluding food waste)
  • Diapers
  • Disposable mop sheets
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Glass
  • Gum 
  • Incontinence products
  • Kitty litter
  • Metal
  • Oils or lubricants
  • Pet waste
  • Plastic bags (including oxo biodegradable bags)
  • Polystyrene packaging
  • Twist ties
  • Vacuum bags and contents


Kitchen Food Waste Container

Put the container in your kitchen in a convenient place. Some residents will keep it on the kitchen counter, while others will prefer to place it under the kitchen sink.

Place a 100 per cent certified compostable liner bag, paper bag or newspaper inside this container. Empty your food waste directly into the liner bag. When odours are noticeable, or the liner bag is nearly full, tie the liner bag closed. To avoid spills and for ease of composting, carry your kitchen container and its contents to where
you keep your curbside green bin.

Curbside Green Bin

The large curbside green bin should be used to store food waste from the kitchen container, and will be set out at the curb for weekly collection.

Store the curbside green bin in a convenient location in the garage or shed, usually near the garbage can.

You may line the bottom of the curbside green bin with newspaper as a dry absorbent liner. Newspaper is compostable and will help minimize any odours and leakage.

On collection day, lock the lid, and place the green bin and its contents at the curb before 7 a.m.

Replacement Green Bin

With proper care, curbside and kitchen green bins should last for many years. Each container is stamped with a production date on the bottom. If your Durham Region issued curbside or kitchen green bin cracks or breaks from regular wear and tear, bring it to 4600 Garrard Rd. (Hours of Operation Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) in Whitby, and you will receive another one.

Paper or Compostable Liner Bags Only

Residents who use liner bags should only use paper or compostable liner bags. These bags are 100 per cent compostable and are made from all natural products.

Paper Bags

Are acceptable in the Region of Durham Green Bin Program. Residents may also use newspaper to wrap their organics. Try this origami liner bag folding project to line your kitchen food waste container.

Compostable Liner Bags

Please use bags that have one or both of the following logos on them:

Compostable Logo 2 Compostable Logo

The following liner bags contain the compostable logo and are accepted in the Green Bin Program:

Compostable liner bag packages

Unacceptable Liner Bags

The following liner bags are not accepted in the Green Bin Program:

  • plastic green or blue recycling bags
  • oxo-biodegradable or biodegradable plastic bags
  • plastic shopping bags from retailers
  • coloured garbage bags

Green Bins lined with unacceptable liner bags will not be collected.

The use of 100 per cent certified compostable liner bags, paper food waste bags, or food waste wrapped in newspaper is the way Durham Region produces top-quality compost. Certified compostable bags, those bearing the logos listed above, completely break down and become part of the finished compost.

Liner bags advertised as biodegradable or oxo biodegradable are not compostable. They are plastic-based bags that do not break down, resulting in residues that reduce the quality of finished compost. When these bags are spotted inside the green bin, the waste collector tags the container and leaves the materials at the curb. Therefore, even though these bags may be advertised as acceptable for use in municipal programs, they will not be collected in Durham Region.

Remember: Finished compost is offered back to Durham Region residents for use on their lawns and gardens through yearly spring compost giveaway events.