Update COVID-19 - Current Process:

  • COVID-19 Update: This year, Community Environment Days will be set up as drive-thru events at the City’s seven Drop-Off Depots. Residents will be able to drive to different stations to drop off items for reuse, recycling and safe disposal. Residents are invited to pick up free bagged compost at a Community Environment Day event. Events will begin on Sundays from September 13 and run until November 1, 2020. The City of Toronto is committed to protecting the health and safety of our residents and staff. Kitchen containers will not be available for purchase.
  • All Drop-Off Depots (Transfer Stations) have reopened to the general public.
  • Get current hours for all Drop-Off Depots.
  • Residents are asked to limit visits to Drop-Off Depots and practice physical distancing when visiting.
  • Cash will not be accepted at Drop-off Depots; payment must be made by debit or credit card.
  • A face mask is recommended when one is unable to maintain a two-metre (six feet) distance from others. At Drop-off Depots, this includes interacting with staff at weigh scales or dropping off household hazardous waste.

The City of Toronto's compost depots will be open on Saturdays from 7:00 am to noon.  Quantity is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Residents can get up to one cubic metre of free leaf compost (approximately one car trunkful) and will not be bagged, residents must bring their own shovels and containers at the following Drop-Off Depot locations only:

  • Disco
  • Ingram
  • Commissioners
  • Scarborough
  • Victoria Park

Pick up for free:
Leaf compost: compost will come in 13 kg bags (limit of two bags per household, while supplies last), visit the Community Environment Day, Items for drop-off and pick-up and schedule, website.

Yard waste processing:

Composting is the actively managed process of decomposition of organic residuals to produce a material (COMPOST) to help grow plants and improve soil health.

The leaf and yard waste collected by the City is sent to contractors who employ various types of windrow processing techniques to produce compost suitable for use by the residents of the City.

The material is usually ground to a coarse size and formed into long triangular rows (windrows) which are usually 3 to 4 metres high.

.The windrows are periodically turned using large automated windrow turners which straddle the piles. During the composting process the windrow is constantly monitored for oxygen and moisture content. The turning ensures the constant presence of needed oxygen. If moisture levels drop, water is applied during turning.

The actual decomposition of the material is carried out by micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, etc.) and macro-organisms (mites, centipedes, worms, etc.)

Two main types of microorganisms are involved in composting. Lower temperature (mesophilic) bacteria rapidly decompose organic matter producing heat up to 38 oC. At this point they start to die off. High temperature (thermophilic) bacteria then take over and raise the temperature to 70 oC. At this point they die off, the pile cools and low temperature bacteria again become active to degrade the remaining organic material.

It is important to note that during the high temperature decomposition harmful pathogens are destroyed making the finished compost safe for human handling and plant growth.

The finished compost is then stored in large piles for up to a year to allow the compost to cure and ensure further decomposition does not occur.

The compost is tested by independent laboratories' to ensure it meets Ontario Compost Quality Standards.  

The cured compost is now suitable for applications where compost is useful and should be mixed at a ratio of 1 (compost) to 6 (soil).

Related information: