Food Scraps Collection
Food scraps collection will be coming to all apartment and condo buildings over the next 4 years, starting fall 2023.
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Using your food scraps cart helps the environment and reduces waste sent to landfill.
A food scraps pail makes it easy to collect scraps. If you don’t have one, repurpose another container (like an ice cream pail) or buy one at a local retailer.
When food scraps end up in a landfill, they create methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Putting your food scraps in your green cart keeps them out of the landfill and allows us to turn them into compost and energy. This helps prevent greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
All apartment and condo buildings will start receiving food scraps collection by 2027. View the Rollout Map to see when your collection starts at your building.
Until then, there are several options to keep food scraps out of your garbage:
Compost food scraps at home. Collecting, transporting and processing food scraps uses a lot of energy. Home composting does not. It also creates an excellent product that feeds your soil. Learn how to home compost.
Reduce your food waste. When we waste food, we waste the resources that went into growing, harvesting and transporting it. Some key habits, like planning meals and shopping with a list, can help limit waste. See more food waste reduction tips.
A few simple steps can help minimize odours:
If you notice fruit flies, try the following:
All “compostable” plastics, including BPI/BNQ-certified
Compostable plastic items (such as cups, liners and bags) require higher temperatures and longer processing times than food scraps to compost. They do not break down in most industrial composting processes designed for food scraps. This includes the City’s processes and those of our regional partners.
Compostable plastic items are handled like regular plastic items. When food scraps arrive at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre, they are screened to remove plastic contamination. The screening machinery cannot tell compostable plastic items apart from regular plastic items, so all are removed and disposed of as garbage.
The only plastic items (regular or “compostable”) you should put in your food scraps are pail liners. These are ripped open to release food scraps at our processing facility, then sorted out as garbage.
Paper takeout containers, plates and cups (including BPI/BNQ-certified compostable)
A bit of paper in your food scraps is fine, but large or thick paper products can cause problems for the City’s Anaerobic Digestion Facility (ADF).
The ADF process uses a liquid to help break down food scraps, similar to how stomach acid helps you digest food. This liquid, called percolate, trickles through piles of food scraps. Large or thick paper products act like a mat and prevent the liquid from seeping through. Unfortunately, large amounts of paper can reduce the ADF’s ability to break down food scraps and create biogas (energy).
Cat litter often consists of non-compostable materials. Many contain antiseptic (bacteria-killing) chemicals that mask odours. These are harmful to the processes used by the City and our regional partners.
Cat waste can also carry a pathogen (Toxoplasma) that may not be killed during the composting process. Putting your cat litter in the garbage helps ensure the City’s compost is safe.
Most dog waste bags are too small to be ripped open by our machinery. As a result, the dog waste stays inside the bag throughout the composting process. The bags are then removed from the finished compost and sent to landfill. This applies to “compostable” bags too, which do not break down in the composting process.
To make sure your dog waste is composted, please empty the contents of your dog waste bag into your food scraps cart, then throw the bag away in your garbage cart.
The City provided food scraps pails to residents during the Cart Rollout in 2021. This was to help residents adjust to sorting food scraps from their garbage. We will also provide a pail for each unit in a building as food scraps collection rolls out to apartments and condos.
These pails have a 5-year manufacturer warranty against cracking, warping, discoloration and deterioration. If your City-provided pail is damaged from normal household use, bring it to any Eco Station and we’ll exchange it for free. Your pail must be clean and include all parts: body, lid and handle.
Please note: we do not replace lost pails or provide additional pails.