Green Cart Yard & Food Waste
This is an optional fee-for-service program for residential yard and food waste, available for single-family households with blue and black carts.
The seasonal Green Cart Program begins May 1, 2017 until early November on your scheduled collection day.
What you can expect from us
- The City collects carts every two weeks from May to early November on your scheduled collection day.
- All Green Carts are collected from the front curb, even if your blue and black carts are collected in the back lane.
- The City provides an additional cart for an additional subscription fee.
How you can help us
- Place your food and yard waste loose into your green cart (no plastic or bagged items).
- Ensure the cart is placed out for collection prior to 7 a.m. on your scheduled pickup day.
- Ensure there is at least 1.2 meters (4 feet) of clearance around all sides of the cart.
- Between collections, store your Green Cart in a secure, shaded location on your property.
What goes in your Green Cart?
Use your Green Cart for yard and food waste. Use the Waste Wizard tool to find out what goes in your green cart or browse through the list of acceptable items.
A number of new materials are now accepted in the expanded Green Cart service.
Please place your yard and food waste loose into your Green Cart (no plastic or bagged items please).
ACCEPTED yard waste:
- Grass clippings
- Garden refuse (e.g. plant tops and clippings, flowers, stalks, fallen fruit)
- Twigs (smaller than your finger in diameter, and no longer than an arm’s length)
- Wood chips and bark mulch
- Fallen elm leaves
- Pine and spruce cones and needles
- Household plants, including soil
NEW! ACCEPTED food and other waste:
- Fruits and vegetables (cooked or raw, including peels and pits)
- Bread, noodles, beans, rice, grains
- Nuts, seeds
- Eggs, eggshells
- Coffee grounds
- Paper teabags, paper coffee filters
- Dry baking ingredients, herbs, spices
- Food-soiled paper napkins, paper towel, and kleenex (must be free of contaminants, such as household cleaners and grease)
- Food-soiled paper plates, cups, and muffin wrappers (un-waxed and un-plasticized)
- Food-soiled pizza boxes and cardboard (Note: clean pizza boxes and cardboard go into your Blue Cart to be recycled)
- Wooden stir sticks, chop sticks, popsicle sticks, toothpicks
- Newsprint, cardboard, and paper bags (to wrap food and line containers)
The following materials are not accepted in the Green Cart program and will not be picked up:
Yard materials that are NOT accepted:
- Any bagged material
- Elm wood
- Treated and untreated lumber and wood products
- Tree branches (larger than your finger in diameter and longer than an arm’s length)
- Logs and stumps
Food and other materials that are NOT accepted:
- Any bagged material
- Plastic, of any type (including compostable plastic, biodegradable plastic, and plastic bags)
- Packaging and wrappers, of all types
- Dairy products, including milk, yogurt and cheese
- Fats, cooking oils, and grease
- Salad dressing, mayonnaise, gravy, and sauces
- Meat, seafood, and bones
- Butcher’s meat wrap
- Chips, candy, baked goods
- Mixed table scraps
- Beverage containers
- Pet waste, pet food, animal bedding, animal carcasses
- Waxed paper
- Cigarette butts, tobacco, ashes
- Fireplace and BBQ ashes, matches
- Corks (from wine bottles, etc.)
- Q-tips, cotton balls, cosmetics, make-up removal pads, dental floss
- Diapers, baby wipes, feminine hygiene products
- Medicines and pharmaceuticals
- Wax- and plastic-coated paper products
- Clothing, textiles
- Rope, rags
- Dryer lint, floor sweepings, vacuum bags, vacuum contents
Rates and Fees
The cost of the Green Cart program is $55 (non-refundable) for the 2017 season for new and returning customers. Current subscribers who do not intend to renew their subscription please contact us at 306-975-2486 or email to have their green cart removed. There is currently no automatic renewal and billing does not occur as part of your utility bill.
To report a damaged cart, if you are moving or if you’d like to discontinue your participation in the program, please contact us at email or 306-975-2486 to arrange a day for your Green Cart to be picked up. Report illegally disposed waste by submitting online form or by calling 306-975-2486.
New subscribers in 2017 will receive their new cart within four weeks of payment.
Please do not write your address on your green cart. Your cart may be used at another location if you choose not to register for the program in the future. The Green Cart collection service is available for community gardens (for a fee). Please contact us at 306-975-2486 or email for details.
Program "How-To" Tips
Here are some simple tips to properly and easily dispose of your yard and food waste.
- Collect food waste in a small container with a lid. Store it inside a cupboard, underneath your sink, or outside your backdoor. Ensure the lid is fully closed.
- Line your container with newspaper or a paper bag, or simply wrap food in a napkin. Please do not use waxed, plastic, plastic-lined, compostable, or biodegrable bags.
- Drain excess liquids from your food waste before placing in the container.
- Freeze smelly food waste until collection day.
- Empty the contents of your container into your Green Cart as frequently as necessary.
- Rinse your container after emptying it into your Green Cart.
- Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your container to reduce odours and deter insects.
- Catch fruit flies in a bowl of vinegar covered with plastic wrap, pricked with a few holes.
- Set your cart out for every collection, even if it isn't full.
- Store your Green Cart outside in a shady, flat, and ventilated location.
- Keep the lid fully closed.
- Line your cart with newsprint, cardboard, or yard waste before adding food waste.
- Covering food waste with yard waste will help prevent odours and insects. Keep the contents of your cart dry by alternating a layer of food waste with a layer of dried leaves, grass clippings, or dead plants.
- Let leaves, grass, and yard waste dry out first before placing them into your cart.
- Rinse your bin occasionally with a garden hose. Pour contents onto grass or gravel (not down the storm drain).
- Sprinkle a small amount of vinegar or baking soda into your Green Cart to reduce odour.
- If animals chew on the bin, rub peppermint oil, hot sauce, cayenne, or chili powder on the chewed spot to deter other animals.
Reducing odours and insects
Odours are produced when materials are too wet and/or do not have enough access to oxygen. The easiest way to prevent odours in your Green Cart is to store your yard waste outdoors between collection days to allow them to dry out and access air.
Pests, such as insects, are attracted to food waste, so keeping these materials covered and enclosed is very important.
For more information, please read our Preventing Odours and Pests letter or review the Program "How-To" Tips above.
Cart filling up too fast?
If your Green Cart is filling up before collection day, try following these simple tips:
Tips to reduce yard waste:
- Leave grass clippings on your lawn after mowing, also known as “grasscycling.”
- Work leaves directly into your garden soil or use them as mulch on your garden beds.
- Take excess yard waste to one of the City's compost depots free of charge.
- Compost excess yard waste using a backyard composting system.
Tips to reduce food waste:
- Get creative – look for recipes that use foods you already have on hand.
- Shop smart – don’t buy more food than you can eat before it starts to spoil.
- Store foods correctly so they last longer.
- Look in your fridge, freezer and pantry before grocery shopping so you only buy what you need.
- Create an “Almost Expired” section in your fridge and pantry to store items that have to be used quickly. Start your meal planning by looking through these items.
- Freeze foods for later use.
- Keep track of what you throw away to get an idea of how much food you could be saving.
- Compost excess food waste at home, by using a backyard or indoor composting system.
Green Cart still filling up before collection day? Order a second cart for an additional subscription fee.
Why composting matters?
Food and yard waste aren’t garbage – they’re a plant’s best friend!
When these materials are composted, the end product (compost) can be added to lawns, flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, and house plants to add nutrients to the soil, conserve water, and reduce weeds, pests and diseases.
What happens to the food and yard waste I put in my Green Cart?
Compost from your Green Cart has been used to keep Saskatoon parks, community gardens, and other public green spaces healthy and beautiful. As more compost is generated, more uses and opportunities to sell the material will become possible.
What are “organics”? And what percentage of my waste do they represent?
Organics are materials that break down naturally and can be turned into compost, such as food and yard waste. Options such as the Green Cart program and backyard composting allow residents to separate their organics from their garbage so these materials can be composted.
Approx. 40-50% of a household’s waste is organic. In fact, more than 15 million pounds of food is wasted in Canadian households each year, while approx. 40% of the food produced in North America is never consumed. In addition, yard waste, such as leaves, grass, and garden materials, can represent up to twice as much waste as food waste. If every household in Saskatoon composted their organics, it would divert more than 25,000 tonnes of organic material from the landfill.
Why is it important to divert yard and food waste from the landfill?
Composting is recycling too! And yet, most of our food and yard waste is being put into the garbage.
When these materials end up in the landfill, they are mixed with garbage and quickly buried in an airless environment. But because organics need air to decompose properly, they do not turn into soil or compost. Instead, they release methane gas and create garbage fluids, called leachate. Methane is a greenhouse gas much more potent than carbon dioxide and leachate needs to be managed under strict environmental regulations. Although some of the methane is captured as landfill gas and converted into energy, the system at our landfill only captures approx. 70% of the methane produced by 1/3 of the landfill, while the remainder is released into our atmosphere.
By placing items that are not garbage into the landfill, we fill it up unnecessarily. A new landfill would be very expensive to build and operate, challenging to locate, and would have a large environmental impact. To prevent the need for a new landfill, we all need to do our part to put waste in the right place.
Did you know? Some organic materials sent to the landfill can still be identified decades after disposal because they don’t break down properly.