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Green Carts & Composting

What Goes Where Guides

What Goes Where Guides


What goes in the Green Cart

The following items can be placed in the green cart for collection:

  • Fruit & vegetable peelings
  • Table scraps, meat, fish, bones
  • Dairy products
  • Cooking oil & fat
  • Bread, rice, pasta
  • Coffee grounds, filters, tea bags
  • Eggshells
  • Boxboard & Soiled Paper (cereal, shoe, cracker & cookie boxes)
  • Paper towel rolls
  • Food napkins
  • Paper towels and soiled paper

Hint: Use boxboard or one sheet of paper to wrap wet food waste.

Leaf & Yard Material

  • Grass, leaves & brush
  • House & garden plant waste
  • Sawdust & wood shavings
  • Excess leaf & yard material can be placed alongside the cart using orange or colourless clear plastic bags or heavy paper bags - 20 bag limit, 25 kg (55 lb) maximum weight per bag.
  • Branches should be tied in armload - sized bundles - maximum 5 bundles. Each bundle not exceeding 34 kg (75 lb) and no individual piece in the bundle more than 4 feet long (1.2 m) or larger than 8 inches (0.2m) in diameter.

Not for the Green Cart Please:

Reducing Nuisances or Odours


Organic Cart Tips

Looking for tips on how to manage your green cart and help prevent nuisances? Check out our brochure:


- Tips for Proper Usage (pdf)



Green Cart Tip Chart
I want to: Reduce Flies Minimize Odours Keep containers clean Minimize freezing
Place wet food waste in boxboard or wrap using one sheet of newspaper. check check check check
Alternate layers of wet waste (e.g., food) with layers of dry waste (e.g., leaves). check check check check
Empty your mini bin daily (after the main meal); you may also rinse with a mild detergent. check check check  
Place the cart curbside for every collection even if it's not full. check check   check
Store the cart outside in a ventilated, shady, convenient location, away from outdoor activity. check check    
Fruit flies are more common during warm weather.  In the kitchen capture fruit flies with a bowl of vinegar covered with plastic wrap with several small holes in it.
Wetness contributes to odours in summer and freezing in winter.  By wrapping wet food waste in soiled/non-recyclable paper and boxboard (e.g., paper towel, cereal boxes), you can reduce wetness & odours, and help prevent nuisances.


Biodegradable & Compostable Bags

  • Some retailers in HRM have recently begun stocking plastic bags designated as 'biodegradable' or 'compostable'.
  • Plastic of any kind is NOT ACCEPTABLE in HRM's green cart organics program.  These bags get caught in machinery at the compost facilities and do not allow contents to be inspected for sharp or potentially hazardous items.
  • Carts found to contain plastic will not be collected and the plastic will have to be removed prior to the next collection day.
  • HRM staff contacted retailers in March 2007, and again in November 2007 advising that these products are not allowed in our system, yet some continue to stock the product.
  • Residents are advised to return unacceptable compost bags to the retailer. Some retailers have begun to respond to customers and HRM requests to remove the stock from shelves.

New cart delivery or repair requests

Properties that receive curbside collection are entitled to receive a green cart at no charge.  Carts are assigned to the property - not the owner.  If you move, the cart and mini bin stay with the property.  If you have moved in to a house that does not have a green cart, please call 311.

Residents are responsible for the proper care and use of their green cart and mini bin.  If a cart has been damaged for any reason, please call 311 to arrange repair.  It is important to keep carts in repair, as a small amount of damage today could lead to bigger problems down the road.

In some cases (ie grates or cracks) carts must be empty prior to being repaired or replaced.   If the cart is currently empty, please do not use the cart until the repair is complete.  Ask a neighbour to share their cart or hold materials in a separate container pending repair/replacement.

Carts must be left in a location easily accessible to the contractor.  We will not go behind houses or fences or in garages unless the homeowner is present.  We do not call ahead, so please make sure the cart is accessible.

Ways to Compost at Home

Managing organic waste in your own yard not only saves tax dollars by reducing trucking costs, it's easy to do and good for the environment!