Organics - Green Cart

Organics - Green Cart

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Our waste system depends on you to be successful, and that starts with sorting materials correctly. The green cart is used to collect organic materials. 

Your green cart is for more than just grass clippings and yard waste. You can also put these in your green cart:

  • food scraps
  • soiled paper
  • coffee filters
  • plant material
  • twigs

These and other compostable materials are turned into valuable compost. It takes about one year to turn our organics into compost. If these items were put in a landfill, they may never actually break down.

Think you can’t make a difference? Think again. Don’t be a landfiller.

  • 1. How to tell if it is organics Permanent link to How to tell if it is organics

    Here is a quick guideline to help determine how an item should be disposed properly.



    Still not sure? Call Utilities or look it up in the Waste Wizard.

  • You can also look the item up using the Waste Wizard.

    • ashes, cooled
    • bread, baked goods
    • beef and beef remains
    • bones
    • candy
    • cardboard, soiled
    • cat litter, not bagged
    • cereal
    • cheeses
    • chicken and chicken remains
    • cooking oil, cooled
    • coffee filters, grounds
    • cotton balls (without nail polish remover or other cleaners)
    • dairy products
    • dryer lint
    • eggs and eggshells
    • facial tissue
    • feathers
    • fish and fish remains
    • floor sweepings
    • flour, grains, dough
    • freezer paper
    • fruit and peelings
    • grass clippings
    • grease, cooled
    • hair
    • leaves
    • meat products, bones
    • oily, fatty foods
    • paper napkins, plates and cups
    • paper products, soiled
    • paper, shredded
    • parchment paper
    • pasta
    • pet waste, not bagged
    • pet wood shavings
    • pizza and soiled pizza boxes
    • plant containers, paper
    • plant materials
    • popcorn
    • popcorn bags
    • popsicle sticks
    • pork and pork remains
    • rice
    • sauces and spreads
    • sawdust and wood chips
    • seafood, seafood shells
    • soap, bar
    • tea bags
    • tissue, soiled
    • toothpicks
    • twigs (small pieces)
    • vegetables and peelings
    • wax paper, soiled
    • weeds
    • wine cork (wood)
  • The top three incorrect items found in organics carts in Strathcona County are:

    Containments in the organics


    • Plastic bags
    • AA batteries
    • Plastic containers


    Make sure you only put organic materials in the green cart. Remember to remove plastic wrappers, bags and containers from food before you throw them in the green cart. If you are using a bag to collect organics, make sure it is compostable. Plastic and biodegradable bags are not permitted.

    Green carts with non-organic materials will not be collected because they contaminate the rest of the organics in the truck. This increases processing costs and the final compost may not be usable.


  • 4. Get to know your organics cart Permanent link to Get to know your organics cart

    Your green organics cart has vents at the top and bottom of the cart to promote airflow inside the cart. A grate inside the cart allows moisture to collect at the bottom and evaporate.

    The organics cart is not a composter. The commercial composting facility that takes our materials can handle many organic items that are not suitable for backyard composters.

    Get tips on layering, seasonal tips and backyard composting

  • 5. Putting your organics cart out for collection Permanent link to Putting your organics cart out for collection

    When putting your cart out for collection remember:

    • All organics must fit inside the cart with the lid closed.
    • Materials left outside the cart will not be collected.
    • Carts must weigh less than 90 kg or 200 lbs otherwise the cart cannot be lifted and emptied.
    • Place it at least one metre from all other objects (other carts, recycling, trees, basketball nets etc.) for safe collection.
    • Make sure to put nothing but organics in the organics cart. If other items are included, the cart will not be emptied. Other items will contaminate the composting process. 

    Learn where to put your cart during snow clearing or street sweeping.

  • 6. Choosing the right bag: Biodegradable vs Compostable Permanent link to Choosing the right bag: Biodegradable vs Compostable

    Acceptable certified compostable bag

    If you choose to use a bag to collect your organics, make sure you are using Certified compostable bags. Plastic and biodegradable bags are not acceptable in the green cart. Certified compostable bags can be purchased at most grocery or home hardware stores in Sherwood Park. Quantity and availability of bags may vary by store. 

    Compostable versus biodegradable

    Acceptable compostable bags:

    Biodegradable bags:

    • are made from a food by-product such as corn starch and break down into compost.
    • are usually opaque and feel softer than than plastic bags
    • have the certified compostable logo. There are some brands that say compostable but are actually biodegradable so be sure to check for the logo.


    • are made with plastic that breaks down into small pieces but does not decompose
    • contaminate the final compost, making  the whole batch un-usable
    • can be used for waste in the black  waste cart, but not the green organics cart

    You can also use newspaper or a paper bag to line your green catcher. If you have a particularly wet organic, wrap it in a newspaper or paper towel to help absorb the liquids.

    Keep it clean and green!

  • 7. Ever wonder what happens to your organics after they are collected? Permanent link to Ever wonder what happens to your organics after they are collected?

    Windrows of organics

    Organic materials are taken to a commercial composting facility. The organics are placed in windrows and because this process is done at an industrial scale, the organic materials reach high temperatures.

    This allows us to include meats, dairy products and other organic materials that cannot be composted in a backyard composter. Increasing the temperature also kills any bacteria or pathogens that may be present in the organic material.

    Once the organics have turned into compost, it is spread over farmers' fields where they grow crops such as hemp, barley malt and canola.

    Farmers field using compost

  • 8. Think it breaks down in the landfill? Permanent link to Think it breaks down in the landfill?

    We showed residents pictures of items that were dug up in a landfill after being buried for 40 years. Here are their reactions.

    If these items were sent for composting instead, it would take about a year to break down.

  • 9. Can I use a garburator for my organics? Permanent link to Can I use a garburator for my organics?

    We don't recommend you use a garburator for several reasons:

    • When kitchen scraps are disposed using a garburator, they ultimately end up at the wastewater treatment plant. At the treatment plant, most of the organic material is removed by screens and is sent to the landfill. This leads to increased wastewater treatment costs.
    • It increases the chance of sewer backups. Over time, the organic material will collect in the pipes which can lead to sewer backups.
    • Using a garburator uses extra water. You will be paying for extra water you use to flush the organic material down the sink and pay extra for the wastewater that is leaving your house.
  • 10. Need an extra organics cart? Permanent link to Need an extra organics cart?

    Extra organics carts are available for an additional monthly fee. Call Utilities at 780-449-5514 for details.

    From mid-June to mid-September, organics will be collected every week for residents in Sherwood Park (including those who subscribe to weekly collection in Fountain Creek Estates, Sherwood Park Golf & Country Club Estates and Balmoral Heights), Antler Lake, Ardrossan, Collingwood Cove, Half Moon Lake, Hastings Lake, Josephburg and North and South Cooking Lake.

  • 11. Stay in the know – download the app Permanent link to Stay in the know – download the app

    Download the Android or iPhone mobile app and you will be able to:

Last updated: Friday, March 16, 2018
Page ID: 39937