The Regional Municipality Of York


Compost and Green Bin

COVID-19: Some helpful Good Food Tips                           

To help reduce food waste during this time:

  • Plan as best as you can before you shop
  • Buy only what you need and use all that you buy
  • Eat leftovers or freeze them before they spoil
  • Use a backyard composter if you have one

For more tips and tools visit

composting made easy

Want some garden gold? Help the earth out a little and try composting.

ComposterComposting is nature’s way of recycling; turning your kitchen scraps and yard clippings into a much needed nutrient-rich additive for your soil. 

Thank you to everyone that participated in our 2019 Backyard Sale, we sold 998 composters! Stay tuned for details on the 2020 Spring Composter Sale

Some local municipalities sell backyard composters year-round, please contact your local town or city to find out more information.

For more information on how to use your composter and the benefits composting can provide check out our Composting Made Easy brochure.

The benefits of composting include:

  • better quality soil in your garden or lawn
  • providing your garden with minerals and nutrients needed by growing plants
  • less watering; compost acts as a natural sponge
  • a home-made, all-natural nutrient for your garden
  • no need to buy chemical fertilizers
  • less waste leaving your home  
  • reduced methane emissions and carbon footprint.
  • compost is easy to make and free

Not sure if your yard is big enough? 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:

  1. Choose a sunny location with good drainage that is easy to access
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.

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Composter - Accepted / Not Accepted

What Can Go In A Backyard Composter?

  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Egg shells
  • Flowers
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Grass clippings
  • Hair
  • Leaves
  • Plants
  • Rice, bread and pasta
  • Sawdust
  • Straw or hay
  • Tea bags and tea leaves
  • Weeds before they seed
  • Wood chips

What Should Not Go In A Backyard Composter?

  • Bones
  • Dairy Products
  • Dog or cat waste
  • Fatty foods like cheese
  • Fish
  • Leftover cooking oil
  • Meat
  • Plants infected with disease
  • Rhubarb leaves and other toxic plants
  • Salad dressing
  • Walnut shells and leaves
  • Weeds with mature seeds
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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

Composting Made Easy Newsletter

Read more tips and tricks in our past editions of the enewsletter. 

Join the Splash enewsletter to stay informed on environmental topics, tips, events, FAQ's and more.

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Green Bin - Accepted / Not Accepted

What is Accepted

Items accepted in the green bin include:

Food Products

  • 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

Paper Products

  • Facial tissue
  • Kraft paper (non-waxed)
  • Microwave popcorn bags
  • Muffin paper
  • Napkins
  • Paper flour and sugar bags
  • Paper plates (food soiled
  • Paper towels
  • Small amounts of shredded paper

Personal Hygiene Products

  • Diapers
  • Hair
  • Incontinence products
  • Nail clippings
  • Sanitary products

Pet Waste

  • Bird seed
  • Cat litter
  • Pet waste
  • Feathers
  • Fur
  • 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
  • Ashes
  • Baby wipes
  • Candles
  • Carpet and rugs
  • Cigarette butts
  • Clothing, leather and textiles
  • Coffee pods
  • Corks
  • 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)
  • Gum
  • Lint
  • 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
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Green Bin - Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions and Tips for Using Your Green Bin

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.

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What happens to my green bin materials?

Watch our video to learn what happens to your green bin waste.

Related Resources

compost,green bin,garbage,food,pet waste,compostable bags,paper products,organics,diapers,sanitary products The Regional Municipality of York en-US Compost and Green Bin Compost and Green Bin Compostable material like food scraps and paper products with food on them get put in the green bin. Your local municipality will pick up it up and deliver it to York Region for composting. Purchase composters.

Contact Us

  • Garbage and Recycling Inquiries

  • 1-866-665-6752

  • Accessibility

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