Green Cart Collection

Using Your Green Cart

Using your green cart is easy and convenient.

Four easy steps for using your green cart

Step One: Put a compostable bag liner or newspaper inside the kitchen pail. Store the pail in a convenient location in your kitchen.

Step Two: Toss all your food waste into the kitchen pail.

Step Three: When your kitchen pail is full, tie the handles of the compostable bag or fold up your newspaper and place it into your green cart.

Step Four: Place your green cart out for collection by 7 am on your designated collection day.  The green cart for organics is picked up weekly from May to October and then bi-weekly November to April.

Tips for using your kitchen pail
  • Store your kitchen catcher under the sink or on the counter for easy access.
  • Use a compostable bag liner or newspaper in your kitchen pail.
  • Keep the lid of the kitchen pail closed.
  • Freeze meat and fish waste until collection day - especially during warm weather.
  • Empty your kitchen pail into your green cart frequently.
  • Clean your kitchen pail with hot water or in your dishwasher.
  • Please do not set your kitchen pail out for collection.
Tips for using your green cart
  • Put your green cart out for collection every week (bi-weekly Nov to Apr) even if it's not full.  
  • Store your green cart in your garage, or in another shady spot in warm weather.
  • Rinse your cart and pour the dirty water onto grass/gravel, not down the storm drain.
  • Sprinkle a small amount of vinegar or baking soda to absorb and reduce odour.
  • Line your green cart with newspaper or a large compostable bag to ensure any loose organics do not freeze in the cart over the winter months.
Compostable Bags and Other Alternatives

Using compostable bags is an easy way to keep your kitchen pail clean and reduce odours as part of using your green cart.  

Where to buy compostable bags

When you're buying compostable bags, look for the certified compostable logos on the box. Some examples of retailers who would have certified compostable bags in Okotoks would be grocery stores, hardware stores, drugstores, and pet stores.

 

 

Make your own compostable kitchen pail liner or bag

Wrapping food waste in newspapers or flyers is another alternative to compostable bags. Follow this quick kitchen pail liner guide to make a kitchen pail liner at home. For best results use three or four full sheets of newsprint. Click the image to open the full kitchen pail liner guide.

The difference between compostable, plastic and biodegradable

Compostable

Compostable bags are guaranteed to break down within a specific period of time. This is very important during the composting process because it takes six weeks to turn the material into compost.

Plastic

Plastic bags are not compostable. Instead they interfere with the composting process by preventing the flow of air, which reduces the quality of the finished compost.

Biodegradable

Biodegradable bags are also not compostable. When a bag or other item is labelled as "biodegradable" it means it will break down eventually; however, it could take weeks, months or decades.

What Goes in Your Green Cart

All food waste can go in the green cart, including many materials that can't be used for backyard composting.  

What goes in the green cart?

All food waste can go in the green cart, including many materials that can't be used for backyard composting.  

Plate Scrapings

Meat, Fish, Shellfish and Bones

Fruits and Vegetables

Bread, Noodles, Rice, Beans and Grains

Eggshells and Dairy Products

Jams, Sauces, Salad Dressings and Cooking Oil

Pastries, Cookies, Cakes and Muffins

Nuts, Seeds, Chips, Popcorn and Candy

Food Soiled Paper, Paper Plates and Napkins

Coffee Filters and Tea Bags

Pet Fur, Hair or Feathers

Animal Bedding (e.g. from pet cages)

Wooden Popsicle Sticks and Toothpicks

What can't go in my green cart?

Plastic Bags

Food or Beverage Packaging

Diapers or Sanitary Wipes

FAQ About the Green Cart Program

Green carts were delivered to all single family households in October 2016.   

I'm already composting at home, why do I need a green cart?
  • If you are already composting at home - keep it up. The green cart can be used along with your backyard composter since the green cart accepts a wider range of food and yard waste - materials such as meat, bones, fish, shellfish, dairy products, pasta and breads. 
  • Your yard waste (grass and leaves) can be composted in your green cart. Whatever excess yard waste you have that doesn't fit in your backyard composter can be put in your green cart. 
Is it safe to put animal waste into the green cart?
  • There are no health and safety issues with putting pet waste and kitty litter in the green cart. During the composting process, the material is heated to temperatures at which any harmful bacteria is killed. Strict testing to meet Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Guidelines for Compost Quality is also conducted to ensure the compost is safe to use.
  • Animal waste must be in a certified compostable bag before placing it in the green cart.
  • Please do not use plastic or biodegradable bags because these bags do not break down during the composting process and will reduce the quality of the finished compost.
What will happen to the finished compost?

The compost will be sold in bulk to farmers. 

Does the green cart attract pests or create odours?

The material placed in the green cart is the same material currently placed in your black cart. Lining your kitchen pail with newspaper or a compostable bag and emptying it frequently into your green cart will reduce pests and odours. 

What about the smell of the food and pet waste in my green cart?
  • Put your green cart out for collection every week (bi-weekly Nov-April) - even if it is not full.
  • Keep the lid of the kitchen pail and green cart closed.
  • Empty your kitchen pail into your green cart every 2-3 days.
  • Consider freezing meat and fish waste until collection day - especially during warm weather.
  • Sprinkle a small amount of vinegar or baking soda in your kitchen pail and green cart to minimize odour.
How do I clean my cart and kitchen pail?
  • Use a compostable bag, paper bag or newspaper liner in your kitchen pail and you can purchase compostable large bags for your green cart.
  • Layer your green cart to keep material from sticking. Place crumpled newspaper on the bottom of your cart and alternate layers of kitchen waste/grass clippings with soiled newspaper or leaves.
  • Rinse your kitchen pail with hot water or place inside your dishwasher.
  • Rinse your cart and pour the dirty water onto grass/gravel, not down the storm drain.
How will I know what week to put out my green cart when it is bi-weekly from November to April?

The Town of Okotoks website (okotoks.ca/collectionschedule) has an online collection schedule to help you remember your waste collection day. By typing in your address, you can access your own personalized Collection Schedule. 

  • Import your personalized Collection Schedule to your online iCal, Outlook or Google Calendar.
  • View, download (PDF), or print your personalized Collection Schedule.
  • Sign up for personalized reminders by email, voicemail or Twitter.
  • Make it even easier and download the Okotoks Waste Mobile App!
How the Program Works

Easy, convenient and effective. Learn the basics about the green cart program including details on the rollout schedule and how the service works. Beginning this October all eligible homes will have green cart service in Okotoks.

Who's eligible for green cart service?

All single-family homes with Town garbage collection will receive green cart service.

What was delivered to residents in October?

When the green cart was delivered, residents received everything they needed to get started.

  • Green cart
  • Kitchen pail to collect food scraps inside the home
  • Two samples of compostable bags to line the kitchen pail
  • Information brochure with program instructions
How does the program work?
  • All food, including meat, dairy and bones are accepted in the program.
  • For yard waste such as grass, leaves and branches utilize our Cut 'n Call program or self-haul to the grass & leaf drop off area
  • Black, green and blue carts will be picked up weekly.  Note, that green carts will be picked up bi-weekly November-April.

  • Yard waste such as grass. leaves, kitty litter and pet waste can be put into the green cart but it is preferred that the green cart be utilized solely for food waste. 

Why Composting is the Better Solution

Food and yard waste doesn't breakdown into soil when it's buried in the landfill, instead it releases greenhouse gases.

Doesn't my waste break down in the landfill?

More than half of the garbage from Okotoks’ homes is made up of food and yard waste. Composting this material is an important step in leading our community towards zero waste.

You may think when food and yard waste goes in the landfill that it breaks down quickly and becomes a part of the soil, but that's not what happens. Watch a quick video from the City of Calgary to understand how a landfill works and why turning food and yard waste into nutrient-rich compost for gardens, parks and farms is a better solution than burying it in a landfill.

Why green carts?

Green carts have proven to be effective in diverting food waste from garbage. On a Town-wide basis, that would translate into 1,000 of tonnes of annual organic waste being turned into useful compost for our gardens, parks and farms instead of taking up valuable space in the landfill.

By using your green cart, you can:

  • Reduce dependence on our landfills.
  • Reduce greenhouse gases.
  • Turn food and yard waste into useful compost.
Organic composting facility - composting process
Wonder what happens to your food scraps and yard waste once it's collected from the green cart?

Wonder what happens to your food scraps and yard waste once it's collected from the green cart? From start to finish, it will take approximately 60 days to produce nutrient-rich Category A compost.

Although the science is similar to backyard composting, here's an in-depth look at how industrial scale composting is different and why you can compost so many more materials with your Green Cart.

Two varieties of compost

A composting facility will produce two Category A compost varieties from two different sources. They will be processed separately at different times of the year. They are:

  • A compost made from green cart food and yard waste; and
  • A more nutrient-rich biosolids based compost

Both varieties are safe to use anywhere and add valuable nutrients to the soil. The composting process and testing for each variety is the same.

The composting process

Step 1 - Shredding the material

Food and yard waste arrives by trucks to the composting facility. The material is shredded to create a recipe for optimum decomposition.

During the winter months dewatered biosolids are brought to the compost facility. Biosolids are a nutrient-rich, organic material produced by advanced wastewater treatment. Biosolids are blended with various types of wood chips to create the ideal mix to enhance the composting process.

Front end loaders and conveyors move all of the material into large composting vessels. Biosolids material and green cart food and yard waste are kept separate.

Step 2 - In-vessel composting

The material stays in the composting vessels for 21 days. During this time the pipes that extend beneath each vessel pump air into the material, keeping the microorganisms that break down the material happy. Vessels are monitored for things such as temperature, moisture content and oxygen levels. This keeps the decomposition process running smoothly.

  • Odour control
    Odour management is one of our main priorities. We've invested in odour control systems to filter them out. Large biofilters are used to reduce odours before exhausting air from the building. Air from both the active composting and curing phases is directed through the biofilters.
  • Eliminating pathogens
    The compost pile will reach temperatures of at least 55 degrees Celsius. These sustained temperatures are difficult to achieve in backyard composters. This step is important because it kills off pathogens like e-coli and salmonella that might be found in materials like uncooked meats and pet waste.

Step 3 - Screening

The composted material is screened to as small as 12 millimetres, producing top quality compost. This allows us to remove any contaminants that still remain and take them to the landfill.

Step 4 - Curing and cool down

After screening, the compost material enters the curing building where it remains for another 21 days. The material is turned over and mixed every five days to introduce oxygen and encourage further decomposition. Pipes in the floor draw air in and through the material to further enhance break down. After curing, the material is moved to the compost storage facility.

Step 5 - Final product testing

The composting facility will produce a Category A compost that is safe to use anywhere, including farms, gardens, parks and nurseries.

To ensure it meets this Category A standard, samples are sent to a Compost Quality Alliance (CQA) accredited lab for analysis to ensure it passes the criteria set by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

Step 6 - Sales

Once certified, the Category A compost is ready for distribution. Compost is a sustainable, nutrient-rich soil amendment used to enrich our soils. The finished compost will be sold in bulk to farms.

Sun - Mon: Closed
Tue - Wed: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Fri: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Garbage, Organics and Recycling Inquiries: 403-938-8054 Contact Online
    Okotoks Eco Centre: 403-938-2652

Okotoks Eco Centre

Sun - Mon: Closed
Tue - Wed: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Fri: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Contact

  • Garbage, Organics and Recycling Inquiries: 403-938-8054 Contact Online
    Okotoks Eco Centre: 403-938-2652