Compostables
Major changes have been made to the collection of residual materials since July 15, 2018. Consult the Updates section.

Compostables are collected weekly for all types of residences.

Information about the collection

Place your food residues and other compostables in the kitchen container, which you will then empty into the brown bins provided for the weekly collection. It is recommended that you line the bin with a certified compostable plastic bag, newspaper or a paper bag.

Only plastic bags certified by the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ) may be used for compostables that are to be collected. Look for the following symbols. See the list of certified compostable products that bear these logos:

Green residues

Green residues may also be placed in the brown bin. Place surplus green residues in biodegradable paper bags or bins clearly marked with a V (for “vert”). Plastic bags are not permitted.

Tree branches measuring up to 12 mm in diameter and 1.5 m in length may be included with compostables. For anything larger, check with the DTRITUS search engine to find out how to dispose of them. Grass clippings are best left on the lawn because they are an excellent source of pesticide-free fertilizer.

Bin storage and collection day

Bins may be stored outdoors in the side yard or backyard at least one metre from the property line. If you live in a townhouse with no side yard, you may store your bins in the front yard.

On collection day, place the brown bin next to the other bins at the curb or on the sidewalk, with the wheels facing the house. In the winter, bins left at the curb or on the sidewalk may slow snow clearing operations.

Put your bins out no earlier than 7 p.m. the day before or no later than 7 a.m. on collection day. Collection is between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. If your bins have not been emptied, submit a request.

Bin dimensions

80 litre

Height: 85 cm (33 in)
Width: 41 cm (16 in)
Depth: 55 cm (22 in)

240 litre

Height: 110 cm (43 in)
Width: 62 cm (24 in)
Depth: 70 cm (27 in)

Bin maintenance

Property owners, tenants or occupants of units with municipal collection should write their address in the designated space on the bins on wheels provided by Gatineau. They are responsible for ensuring that bins and collection tools remain clean and waterproof through regular maintenance.

Ordering bins

If you do not have a bin on wheels, you can order one by submitting a request. Bins will be delivered to you at no charge, along with a start-up kit and instructions on taking part in this collection.

Bins on wheels with the Gatineau logo that are provided for the collection of compostables are Gatineau's property.

Bin repair or replacement

If your bin on wheels is damaged, broken or stolen submit a request. Property owners are responsible for covering the cost of repairing or replacing bins that are broken by the property owner, tenant or occupant of one of the units. The cost of replacing stolen bins will be covered by Gatineau after an investigation.

Accepted and not accepted materials in compost bins

Accepted

Food residues, including

  • Condiments
  • Egg and nut shells
  • Seafood (shells)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Coffee (grounds and filters)
  • Pet food
  • Bones
  • Tea bags

Soiled paper and cardboard, including

  • Pizza cartons
  • Egg cartons
  • Paper towels
  • Newspaper
  • Paper tissue
  • Paper plates (unwaxed)
  • Parchment paper

Green residues, including

  • Wood chips and sawdust
  • Straw and hay
  • Weeds
  • Good or rotten vegetables
  • Small branches
  • Cold wood ashes

Not accepted

  • Dead animals
  • Wood and big branches
  • Hair, nails, fur, feathers
  • Diapers
  • Large amounts of liquid
  • Litter
  • Vacuum cleaner dust
  • Hygienic products
  • Hazardous household waste
  • Styrofoam
  • Metallic, plastic or waxed packaging
  • Textiles

When in doubt, consult DTRITUS to find out how to dispose of your items.

Useful tips

Odours

  • Use certified compostable plastic bags, paper bags or newspaper, or else rinse the bin after every collection with water and a mild detergent or vinegar.
  • Sprinkle a bit of lime or baking soda in the bin.
  • Place a sheet of newspaper over each layer of compostables.
  • Freeze or refrigerate meat and poultry scraps.
  • Let your leaves or grass dry before placing them in the bin to avoid the strong smell of ammonia that they release when wet.
  • Keep your bin out of the sun, and put it out every week, regardless of how much is in it.

Critters

  • Use the same precautions as with household garbage.
  • Spread menthol cream around the brown bin lid.
  • Secure the lid with an elastic cord. You can get a latch at the service centre nearest to you.

Flies and maggots

  • Wrap your meat, poultry and fish scraps in newspaper or in a certified compostable plastic bag or paper bag before placing them in the bin. You can also leave them outside or freeze them until collection day.
  • Alternate your food waste with dry materials in your bin (paper towels, newspaper, wood shavings, wood chips, dead leaves, etc.).
  • Do not put large amounts of liquid in the brown bin.
  • Keep your bin out of the sun, with the lid on, and put it out for collection every week.
  • Spray maggots with hot water, salt or a mix of water and vinegar to eliminate them.

Freeze

  • In the winter, in order to avoid having your compostables stick to the bin, place a sheet of newspaper or cardboard on the bottom of the bin. You can also place a paper bag in the bin.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Is it possible to get an additional brown bin?
    If the brown bin is too small for all of your green residues, you can place them in paper bags or bins marked with a V (for “vert”). If there is not enough space in your bin because you have too many food waste, you can order a second bin by submitting a request or calling 311. The Service de l'environnement will review your request.

    You can also bring your surplus food waste or garden residues to an ecocentre during business hours.
  2. What should I do if my bin is not emptied?
    Leave it at the curb, and call 311 or submit a request.
  3. Why are ordinary or biodegradable plastic bags not permitted?
    Those bags are not compostable. They obstruct air circulation in the composting process. They also interfere with the decomposition of compostables, which results in unpleasant odours.

    As well, those bags increase the cost of operation because they have to be picked out and removed. After that, they have to be taken to the landfill site. If you use them, your brown bin will not be emptied. Only certified compostable plastic bags will be collected because, even though they look like conventional plastic bags, they are made from vegetables.
  4. Why are animal droppings and litter not acceptable in brown bins?
    They may contain medication or chemical products that could be detrimental to the quality of the compost down the line. If you need to dispose of droppings and litter, in order to reduce the odour, wrap them in a plastic bag before placing them in your garbage bin. Some litters (depending on the composition or brand) are more or less scented or absorb odours better.
  5. Why are disposable diapers not acceptable in brown bins?
    Because they contain plastic. If you need to dispose of them, in order to reduce the odour, flush solids from the diapers down the toilet. Then refold and seal the diapers using the tabs, and place them in the same plastic bags you use for your garbage.

    You can also use disposable diaper compactors to reduce their volume and odours. Or you can use reusable diapers.
  6. Is composting mandatory?
    Composting is voluntary. However, effective July 15, 2018, compostables will not be accepted in household garbage. Also, from that date forward, all residential building owners will have to provide their occupants or tenants with sufficiently large bins in which to store compostables between collections, as well as the appropriate collection tools.
  7. Where do compostables go?
    They are composted in the Laflèche Environmental plant in Moose Creek, Ontario.

Home composting and vermicomposting

If you opt for home composting or vermicomposting, check the following sites to find out more.

Useful links

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