Curbside Compostables (Organics) Collection Program

The Curbside Collection Program has changed, effective May 2017:

  • Compostable waste (combined food waste, food-soiled paper and yard waste) is collected from all residents on the program weekly
  • Garbage collection has been reduced to bi-weekly
  • Some residents have new collection days

Details about these program changes are provided below.

Green Carts for Curbside Compostables (Organics) 

All residents on the City's Curbside Collection Program have been provided with a Green Cart for compostable waste (combined food waste, food-soiled paper and yard waste) along with a Kitchen Catcher and more information to help you transition to the new program.

Green Cart Exchange Information:

Green Cart size exchange requests may be made using the link below or by calling 604.793.2787.  Due to the high volume of exchange requests, it may take 2-3 weeks for your exchange to be processed.

Emterra plans to exchange carts on the day after residents' regular collection day, but in some cases exchanges may occur on another day of the week. 

In order to facilitate the exchange, please ensure your current Green Cart is accessible from the front of your residence (or from the back lane if you receive back lane collection).  Emterra will not be able to exchange your cart without collecting the current size.  If your cart is not exchanged the day after collection, please continue to use your cart but keep it accessible until the exchange occurs. 

If you have any questions about your exchange request, please call Emterra at 604.795.7795.

Click here to request a different cart size.

Tenants, please discuss cart size selection with your landlord.

For more information:

May 2017 Curbside Collection Program Changes

Green Cart Size Information

Compostables Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does the new Curbside Compostables Collection Program work?

General Process

Food, food-soiled paper, and yard waste should be placed in your Green Cart for collection and composting.  The collection contractor has provided residents with a "Kitchen Catcher" to store food waste in the kitchen before transferring it to the large Green Cart that is then set at the curb for collection. Please note that Kitchen Catchers are designed for indoor use only and are NOT acceptable at the curb as they do not have a locking mechanism to prevent wildlife interactions and keep materials contained.

Suggested steps:

Accepted Materials in your Green Cart

Not sure if an item is accepted? 

Use the new Waste Wizard "What Goes Where" search tool to look up items for recycling, composting or disposal:

Green Cart Tips

  • Place the provided sticker “What can I put in my Green Cart?” on the lid of your Green Cart for an easy reminder of what items are accepted.
  • Wrap food waste in newspaper, paper bags, paper towel or cereal boxes.
  • There is no requirement to line your Green Cart, but you may want to line it to help keep it clean. Options include newspaper, paper bags/liners, or other paper products. Watch a helpful video from the City of Ottawa on how to make your own Kitchen Catcher liner from newspaper.
  • Do not use plastic bags in your Green Cart, even biodegradable or compostable plastic. Not all compostable plastic bags break down sufficiently during the composting process, which can contaminate the finished compost product.
  • Freeze meat scraps in a paper bag until collection day.
  • Store your Green Cart in a cool, shaded, ventilated area and keep the lid locked
  • Wash your Green Cart periodically with mild soap or a vinegar‑water solution. Pour soapy water onto grass or gravel. Do not pour soapy water down outside drains.
  • Set your Green Cart out for collection every week even if it is not full.

Note: The above illustration is a recommendation only, residents that do not have yard waste could layer material with paper products.

Collection Frequency

Compostable waste (food waste, food-soiled paper and yard waste) are collected weekly and composted.

Unlimited Recycling is collected weekly similar to the previous program.

Garbage is collected bi-weekly (once every two weeks) because quantities and odours are significantly reduced without the compostable materials and bi-weekly collection reduces collection costs. Residents are able to put up to two 120 litre containers bi-weekly at the curb for collection.

Yard Waste

Every spring and fall (April-June, September-November) residents are also able to put out up to 10 extra paper bags of yard waste or bundles of branches per week (no tag-a-bag stickers required) to assist residents when there are more prunings, leaves, etc. At other times, residents can put out extra yard waste with tag-a-bag stickers on them.

Note: Residents previously subscribed to the yard waste service no longer need to subscribe; yard waste is collected from everyone weekly as part of the new compostables service. The new curbside fees are lower than previous fees paid by customers with yard waste subscriptions due to increased efficiencies.

Containers and Collection Method

Garbage and recycling are still collected manually by curbside collection crews. A semi-automated collection system is being used for the collection of the heavier compostable waste.

The collection contractor has provided wildlife resistant standardized Green Carts to all residents. Residents are able to choose a cart size (eg. 80L, 120L, 240L, 360L) and pay a different rate accordingly. 

Please note that Green Carts are registered to the property that it was delivered to and should remain at the original property even if ownership changes.

Collection Days & Times

Collection days have changed for some residents starting in May:

  • Ryder Lake and east Chilliwack residents receive collection on Tuesdays
  • Some other collection boundary adjustments have been made to better distribute workload since some areas of Chilliwack have grown faster than others

Each collection area is divided into two 'zones' for alternating garbage collection.

A search tool for residents to confirm their new collection day, check for their garbage collection weeks, and set up collection reminders is available here.

Residents are reminded to ensure materials are placed at the curb by 7:00 am because collection times may be adjusted by the contractor.  Garbage, recycling and compostables may be collected at different times throughout the day. 


Watch: Presentation from March 21 Council Meeting regarding the Curbside Program changes

Emterra plans to exchange carts on the day after residents’ regular collection day, but in some cases exchanges may occur on another day of the week.  In order to facilitate the exchange please ensure your current green cart is accessible from the front of the residence, or if you receive waste collection from a back lane, then please ensure your cart is accessible from the lane.  Emterra will not be able to exchange your cart without collecting the current size. If your cart is not exchanged the day after collection, please continue to use your cart but keep it accessible until the exchange occurs.  If you have any questions please contact Emterra Environmental at 604.795.7795.

Description Date File Size
Curbside Compostables Handout 2017-03-20 667KB
Green Cart Size Information 2017-05-31 166KB
How to Make a Liner for Your Kitchen Catcher 2017-07-18 209KB
May 2017 Curbside Program Changes 2017-04-03 476KB