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Ontario Green Bin Program Overview

Ontario, and specifically the Waterloo region, has a proud history of recycling and environmental sustainability. The first ever blue box program was launched in Kitchener in 1983, and is now used by millions across the world. The Blue Box program has succeeded in diverting a large amount of waste from landfills, but it can still be improved upon. It is estimated that at least 50% of residential waste falls under the organic category, and as such can be composted. This is the focus of the Green Bin program: to divert organic waste from landfills and compost it instead.

Green Bin vs Blue Bin

The Green Bin and Blue Bin are both environmentally responsible waste removal solutions that reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills. The Green Bin program is reponsible for diverting biodegradable organic waste that can be composted, while the Blue Bin program is reponsible for diverting recyclable materials, such as aluminum and glass. Together these two processes can divert the majority of waste created from going to the landfill. 

The exact amount of organic and recyclable waste created will vary by household or business, but typically well over 50% of waste can either be composted or recycled.

What Items Go in the Green Bin

As a general rule of thumb, all food products, paper products (fast food bags, coffee cups) and similar items can be placed in the Green Bin. See below for an extensive list:

Acceptable Green Bin Items?

Baked goods 
Baking and cooking ingredients
Butter & margarine
Cat litter
Certified compostable plastic liners bags
Coffee cups (PAPER, no lids)
Coffee filters, grounds
Corn cobs, husks
Cotton balls
Cooking oil
Dairy products - e.g. cheese, sour cream, yogurt

Eggs, eggshells

Facial tissues


Fish, fish parts

Flowers (cut), bouquets



Grains & rice
Gravy & sauces
Grease, lards, fats
Herbs & spices
Houseplant waste

Jams & jellies

Meat, meat products, bones
Muffin/baking cups (paper)
Nail clippings
Nuts & shells
Paper bags
Paper plates, cups, napkins

Parchment paper


Peanut butter

Pencil shavings

Pet waste (including bedding, droppings, kitty litter)- must be bagged or wrapped in paper)
Popsicle sticks
Salad & dressings
Shredded paper
Snack foods
Sugar & sweetener packets
Sugar & syrups
Sugar bags
Tea bags (except Lipton pyramid tea bags)
Toothpicks (wood)
Wood ashes (cold)

Wood chips