Compost and Green Bin
Love gardening? Try composting.
Composting is nature’s way of recycling your kitchen scraps and yard clippings into a natural, nutrient-rich food for your soil. It’s easy and can save you money too!
The Region’s 2022 Composter Sale is now closed, but stay tuned as we make plans for 2023.
If you missed out on our sale, check with your local city or town to see if they sell backyard composters year-round, or search online for retailers that sell home composting systems.
For more information on how to use a composter, check out our Composting Made Easy brochure.
The benefits of compost:
- Improves soil quality
- Returns nutrients back to the earth
- Uses less water for plants
- Reduces the need for fertilizers
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
Is your yard too small for a composter? Try purchasing an indoor vermi-composter (using worms) or Bokashi composter (using fermentation). Search for composters online to find retailers that sell these indoor systems.
Composter - Set Up Instructions
Setting up Your Backyard Composter
To set up your compost bin, follow these steps:
- Choose a sunny location with good drainage that is easy to access
- To prevent pests or rodents from disturbing the composter, place a base of chicken wire on the ground and set the composter on top of the base
- Layer green materials high in nitrogen like kitchen scraps and grass clippings with brown materials high in carbon like dried leaves. Alternate the layers and turn the compost regularly. Add a thin layer of soil periodically to add more micro-organisms and speed up the composting process
- Add water if needed. Compost should feel damp like a wrung out sponge
Compost is ready when the texture is dark and crumbly and has a pleasant earth-like smell. It usually takes about one year to produce rich compost.
Composter - Accepted / Not Accepted
What Can Go In A Backyard Composter?
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Egg shells
- Fruits and vegetables
- Grass clippings
- Rice, bread and pasta
- Straw or hay
- Tea bags and tea leaves
- Weeds before they seed
- Wood chips
What Should Not Go In A Backyard Composter?
- Dairy Products
- Dog or cat waste
- Fatty foods like cheese
- Leftover cooking oil
- Plants infected with disease
- Rhubarb leaves and other toxic plants
- Salad dressing
- Walnut shells and leaves
- Weeds with mature seeds
Composter - Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
Backyard Composting Tips
- Turn your compost with a garden fork to allow air flow; ideally once every two to four weeks
- Chop waste into smaller pieces for faster decomposition
- Avoid adding a thick layer of any one material type, particularly grass; mix it with other materials
Compost through the winter; the composting process slows down but speeds up again in the spring
York Region Food Network Resources
Green Bin - Accepted / Not Accepted
What is Accepted
Items accepted in the green bin include:
- Baking ingredients like cake, cookies, flour, sugar, spices, eggs and eggshells
- Butter, margarine, grease, lard (solid), sauces
- Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt
- Fruits and vegetables
- Grain products like pasta, bread, rice and cereal
- Meat and fish products like bones, fat, skin and shellfish
- Nuts and shells
- Other foods like candy, coffee grounds, coffee filters and tea bags
- Facial tissue
- Kraft paper (non-waxed)
- Microwave popcorn bags
- Muffin paper
- Paper flour and sugar bags
- Paper plates (food soiled
- Paper towels
- Small amounts of shredded paper
Personal Hygiene Products
- Incontinence products
- Nail clippings
- Sanitary products
- Bird seed
- Cat litter
- Pet waste
- Pet bedding
- Pet food
Other Compostable Products
- Houseplants including soil and flowers
- Sawdust from wood (not pressure treated or from melamine, composite wood, or particle board)
What is Not Accepted
Items not accepted in the green bin include:
- Artificial flowers and plants
- Baby wipes
- Carpet and rugs
- Cigarette butts
- Clothing, leather and textiles
- Coffee pods
- Cotton balls, ear cleaners and makeup removal pads
- Cutlery (metal, plastic, compostable, bamboo)
- Dead animals
- Disposable mop sheets
- Dryer lint
- Dryer sheets
- Elastic bands
- Foil (place clean foil in your Blue box)
- Milk bags
- Sanitizing wipes
- Styrofoam, protective packaging and foam take-out food containers
- Tissue paper for gift bags
- Paper Cups
- Plastic wrap and baggies
- Wax paper
- Wood, wooden stir sticks, chop sticks, tooth picks
- Vacuum cleaner bags & contents
- Yard waste
Green Bin - Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
My green bin wasn’t collected, who do I contact?
Curbside collection including green bin collection in York Region is managed by the local municipalities. Please visit local municipal websites or your waste collection calendar for more information on your green bin collection schedule.
What can I use to line my green bin?
Line your green bin with certified compostable, paper or plastic bags. Certified compostable or paper bags are preferred.
How can I reduce odours?
Odours can be reduced by keeping your green bin clean. Rinse regularly and wash with vinegar, baking soda or another natural cleaner.
Keep organic material dry by wrapping material in newspaper and store meat and bones in the freezer until collection.
Sprinkle baking soda to help absorb odours.
What happens to my green bin materials?
Watch our video to learn what happens to your green bin waste.