Green Bin (Organics) Program Proper Usage

For information about the City of Toronto's Green Bin (Organics) Program, including usage, tips, accepted and not accepted items, please visit

Do not place cigarette butts or tobacco in the Green Bin as the organics processing system relies on bacteria to break down organics and tobacco is treated with many chemicals, which can adversely impact the bacteria. Do not place dead animals in the Green Bin - for proper disposal, please check Waste Wizard.

Take food items out of their packaging. Green Bin items can be collected in a plastic bag, which will be removed at the organics processing facility, but too much plastic and other packaging material placed in the Green Bin can cause problems. Diapers and feminine hygiene/menstrual products, like pads and tampons, are accepted in the Green Bin because the organic and fibre portions can be separated from the plastic components in the pre-processing system, just like plastic bags that are used to collect Green Bin items.

Line your indoor organics container(s) or outdoor Green Bin. Do not line both. Use any plastic bag or paper bag to line either container. Compostable bags are not necessary. If the contents of the Green Bin are loose, the bin may not get picked up because of hygiene concerns for waste collectors or in winter, material may freeze to the bottom of the bin.

Compostable or Biodegradable Products & Packaging

Information about items labelled as compostable or biodegradable can be found on, with additional information below:  

The City of Toronto's Green Bin (organics) program was designed primarily to process food waste and some fibre/paper products. It was not designed to process packaging. As a result, plastics labelled or certified as compostable or biodegradable, such as cups, cutlery and coffee pods, are not accepted in Toronto’s Green Bin program. The City's organics processing facilities do not provide the necessary conditions (e.g. moisture, heat, oxygen, time) for compostable plastics to break down and these items are removed in the pre-processing stage along with conventional plastics, which are sent to landfill. Therefore, compostable plastics should be placed in the garbage. This also applies to paper-based items that are lined or coated with compostable plastic (e.g. coffee cups, takeout boxes).

The above also explains why the City of Toronto does not require residents to use compostable plastic bags to line their organics containers. Compostable plastic bags behave like conventional plastic bags and are separated from organics (i.e. food waste) in the pre-processing stage. Some municipalities require residents to use compostable plastic bags to collect organics, but they may use a different organics processing system/technology (e.g. aerobic composting) than the City of Toronto, which uses anaerobic digestion.

According to Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 604, Packaging, retail businesses in a retail business establishment are prohibited from offering or providing to customers biodegradable or compostable plastic bags.