If it's organic material, it isn't garbage and can be diverted from landfill. Green bins go out every week. The maximum weight for a green bin and its contents is 30 kgs (66 lbs). Please remove bungie cords or tie-downs when placing the green bin at the curb for collection. To find out when your scheduled pick up day is, check out the garbage and recycling calendar. Please set out your green bin by 6 a.m. the morning of your collection day. Residents may set out one green bin for collection each week. Duplexes and other multi-unit buildings are entitled to one green bin per residential unit.

If you're not sure if an item is recyclable, or which container it goes in, you can consult the waste lookup tool for help.

The green bin can be used for yard waste, but collectors must see food waste in your green bin to pick it up.

Select a heading for more information.

Green bin

Organic waste is not garbage.  It can be made into compost and should be diverted from landfill.  Put your green bin out each week.

  • Food scraps.  If you can eat it, it can go in the green bin: fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags, meat and bones, bread, pasta, oatmeal, pizza, gravy and sauces, eggs, etc.  Grease and fat should be poured into a paper carton and allowed to solidify before going in the green bin.  Please remove any plastic spout if one is attached to your carton.
  • Soiled paper products: facial tissues, paper towels, greasy pizza boxes, microwavable popcorn bags, paper plates and paper napkins.
  • Yard waste: leaves, grass clippings, brush, twigs, flowers and plants can all go in your green bin.  Just make sure you can close the bin. Please note that the City will collect organic waste set out in City-issued green bins only and not in yard waste bags or after-market green bins. Additional bags of yard waste set out beside the green bin will also not be collected. For disposal options for excess yard waste, click the Yard waste tab below.

Do NOT put in the green bin: diapers, pet waste, kitty litter, feminine hygiene products, rocks and gravel, disposable duster/sweeper cloths, or soil.

Pick up your first green bin or exchange a broken one at the Kingston Area Recycling Centre, 196 Lappan's Lane, Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kitchen Containers are provided with your green bin; broken kitchen containers are replaced at a charge of $3.40.

Green bin and kitchen container liners

Find out how to make your own liner out of newspaper.

You don't need a liner.  But if you prefer to have one, you may use any of the following types of liners listed below:

NEW: BPI-certified compostable liner bags. These liner bags look like plastic, but are made from compostable materials such as corn starch. Accepted certified compostable liner bags must bear the following BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) logo:

BPI Certified Logo

BPI-certified compostable liner bags are available at most major retailers throughout Kingston. Accepted brands include:

  • Bag to Nature small kitchen bags
  • Bio*life compostable kitchen bags
  • Biosak Compostable Brown Bags
  • EcoGuard compostable bags
  • Glad Easy-Tie compostable bags
  • Likewise compostable bin liners
  • NaturForce 100% compostable bags
  • No Name compostable bags
  • Quikki Compostable bin liners
  • Selection eco compostable bags
  • Snappy compostable bin liners
  • Tuff Guy compostable bags

Cellulose-lined paper bags and other paper bags designed for collecting food waste, including yard waste bags. Paper liner bags do not need to bear the BPI logo in order to be accepted

Sheets of newspaper. See above for tips on how to make your own kitchen container liner out of newspaper.

Any other paper products, such as paper towels, ordinary paper bags or microwave popcorn bags.

Ordinary plastic and oxo-biodegradable grocery bags are not accepted in the green bin. If you use these bags as liners in your green bin, your bin will not be collected.

It is recommended that when placing the yard waste in the green bin you either use a paper yard waste bag or line the bottom of your bin with newspaper. This will help to ensure your bin is emptied properly. In the winter, you may want to line the bottom of the bin with newspaper or a paper bag to prevent waste from freezing to the inside of the bin.

Other tips for caring for your green bin include:

  • To help control odour and pests, rinse your green bin periodically. Sprinkling in baking soda or vinegar will help to absorb or mask odours.
  • Consider keeping organic waste in a paper bag in your freezer. This helps to cut down on smell and will help prevent organic waste from sticking to your green bin
  • Make sure the orange lock is firmly in place to help prevent animals and flies from getting into your bin.
  • If you do encounter maggots, which can be the result of flies getting into your bin, kill them with regular household vinegar.

Backyard composting

Backyard composting is the most efficient way to divert your organic waste from landfill. It also produces compost that offers your garden valuable nutrients.

Composters are available year-round for $43.00 from the Kingston Area Recycling Centre. More details on the composters can be found on the manufacturer's website.

A backyard composter is different than the City's green bin. You can put items in the green bin that cannot go in your backyard composter.

What goes in: fruit & vegetable peelings, cores and scraps, coffee grounds, bread, baked goods, grains, pastas, egg and eggshells can all go in your backyard composter. Leaves, grass clippings, flowers and bush prunings can also be composted.

What stays out: meat and bones, dairy products, cheese, fats, oils and greases should all stay out of a backyard composter. These are slow to break down, can attract wildlife and may contain harmful bacteria that cannot be killed in the composting process. Weeds or plants that have gone to seed should also stay out.


  • Maintain a 50/50 mix of food scraps and yard waste. Balancing wet and dry materials allows your organic waste to decompose quickly. If compost is too dry it will not break down; if it is too wet it will produce a noticeable odour. The contents of your backyard composter should have the consistency of a wrung-out sponge.
  • Aerating or turn your compost pile at least once a week with a shovel or garden fork. This ensures air flow and distributes moisture.

Composting takes time to start, so be patient. In the winter the process slows or stops completely, but it picks up again in the summer.

For more tips on backyard composting visit the Compost Council of Canada website.

Find more water-wise gardening ideas on Utilities Kingston's "Make Every Raindrop Count" page.

Yard waste

Yard waste is not garbage. It does not go to landfill. The City offers yard waste collection every fall (October/November).  Your brush and leaves should be at curbside by 8 a.m. on the Monday of your collection week.

  • Brush: do not bundle brush. Stack it at curbside with butt ends facing the street. Brush should not be longer than 3' and branches should not exceed a diameter of 6".
  • Leaves: put your leaves out in paper bags. The City will not collect leaves in plastic (or plastic looking) bags.

Find your collection weeks using the Waste Collection tool.

OR use your yard waste in your yard: compost it or use it as mulch to keep your garden moist.

Find more water-wise gardening ideas on Utilities Kingston's "Make Every Raindrop Count" page.

Have more yard waste?

  Yard waste and Christmas trees can be dropped off at:  

  • The Kingston Area Recycling Centre (KARC), 196 Lappan's Lane, Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Norterra Organics, 2069 Joyceville Rd. is a convenient drop-off location for yard waste. Contact Norterra Organics at 613-546-0884 for their hours of operation.
  • Sod is accepted for composting but must be as free of as much soil as possible.
  • Logs and root balls are accepted but must be less than 40 cm (15 inches) in diameter and 90 cm (3 feet) in length.

Grasscycling and mulching leaves

You can decide to grasscycle and mulch leaves.  Grass-cycling is the natural recycling of grass by leaving clippings on the lawn when mowing. Grass clippings decompose quickly and release valuable nutrients back into the soil.  Many mowers also mulch leaves.  Use mulched leaves to your advantage and recycle those nutrients back into the soil and keep your garden moist.

Find more water-wise gardening ideas on Utilities Kingston's "Make Every Raindrop Count" page.

Live in an apartment?

The multi-residential Green Bin program operates in a similar fashion to the multi-residential recycling program. Participating buildings with 7 units or more are given some large curbside Green Bins, and residents each receive a Kitchen Container for collecting waste in their individual unit. Residents empty their Kitchen Containers into the large Green Bins, which are set out for collection each week.

If a specific property is interested in starting the Green Bin program in advance of its implementation year (see below), consideration can be given to starting the program early. Those properties that do not have a program in place, but are interested in starting can also contact the Solid Waste Division directly. Residents who are interested in starting the Green Bin program at their respective buildings must have their property owner / manager contact the Solid Waste Division as the City requires the permission of property management before starting the Green Bin program at a given building.

For any inquiries please contact Adam Mueller, public education & promotion coordinator, at 613-546-4291, ext. 2703 or

Implementation schedule

In 2011, the City began expanding the Green Bin organics programs to phase in multi-residential buildings with seven units or more.

  • 2011: Townhouse/condominium properties under a single ownership.
  • 2012: Apartment/condominium properties between 7 & 20 units.
  • 2013: Apartment/condominium properties between 21 & 50 units.
  • 2014: Apartment/condominium properties between 51 & 80 units.
  • 2015+: Apartment/condominium properties with 81 units or more.