Food waste is no longer garbage. Food scraps and food-soiled paper will be collected separately to produce high-quality compost. The program is being rolled out as a pilot with five bin locations and will be re-evaluated at a future date.
The town is providing home food waste kits with a home food waste bin, information about the program, and a guide for acceptable and non-acceptable items. You can pick up your kit during regular business hours at the Civic Centre (902 7th Ave) or Public Works (100 Glacier Drive). They are also available on weekends at the front desk of the Canmore Recreation Centre (1900 8 Ave) when staff are at the desk.
Food Waste Bin Locations
Compostable bags will keep your kitchen food waste bin and the neighbourhood food waste bin cleaner, however it is your choice whether or not you use them. Certified compostable take-away cups and foodware are also accepted. You may use compostable bags that have these symbols:
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should we compost our food waste and food-soiled paper?
Organic material does not turn into soil or compost when it’s buried in the landfill. It takes decades to decompose, and, because it is breaking down anaerobically or without oxygen, it releases greenhouse gases approximately 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Collecting and composting food waste is a key part of achieving Canmore’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
Can meat go in the food waste bins?
Yes. All kinds of meat, fish, shellfish and bones can go in the food waste bins for composting.
Where do pizza boxes go?
If pizza boxes are clean (no food scraps and minimal grease) they can be placed in the paper recycling bin. If pizza boxes are soiled with grease and/or food, they can be placed in the food waste bins for composting.
Where do paper coffee cups go?
Unfortunately single-use paper coffee cups go in the garbage. They cannot be recycled because they often have a thin internal plastic liner which makes them a contaminant in the paper recycling stream and they cannot be composted. Use a reusable mug instead!
Can grease or cooking oil go in the food waste bins?
Small amounts of oil and grease can be put in the food waste bins. You can use a paper towel to wipe or soak it up and put that in your bin. For large amounts of fats, oils and grease, pour the liquid in a container, like a tin can or milk carton, and place it in the freezer. After it freezes, throw it in the garbage.
Are compostable bags necessary?
Compostable bags are optional. To help keep the food waste bins clean you can also use a paper liner. Please note that compostable bags tear easily so it is best to transport your food waste in your home bin.
Where can I buy compostable bags?
Compostable bags are sold at all local grocery and hardware stores. Make sure to look for the symbol that certifies that it is compostable. If it doesn’t have the symbol, it can’t go into the food waste bins.
Why can't I use biodegradable bags?
Biodegradable bags are generally made from plastic and only break apart into smaller pieces of plastic that remain in the finished compost. This creates a low-quality final product and introduces plastics into the environment where the compost is used. Certified compostable bags have been tested to ensure that they break down in large-scale composting programs.
Will the food waste bin attract animals or create odours?
The same material is going in the food waste bins as what was previously going into the garbage bins. The only change is that the food and food-soiled paper is being separated from the garbage. The food waste bins will be the same design as the animal proof bins that have been in the community for over 20 years. Using compostable bags or paper liners will help cut down on odours.
What about odours and pests from my kitchen pail?
It is the same food material that has been going into your garbage, it is only being collected separately. Odours and pests can, however, be minimized by using a compostable bag or wrapping your scraps with newspaper, keeping the lid of the kitchen pail closed to prevent fruit flies, emptying it frequently and cleaning it after every use with hot water or in your dishwasher. Lemon juice, white vinegar, or baking soda and water are all good natural cleansers. Freezing meat and fish waste until you take it to the neighbourhood collection bin will reduce potential odours, especially during warm weather. Remember that food waste must always be stored indoors. You home bin can attract animals if it is put outside.
Why do some home food waste bins have holes on the top? Won't that release odours?
The holes allow air into the bin which actually minimizes odour. Oxygen is essential to the natural composting process. The best way to limit odour is to empty and wash your kitchen bin often.
Can I keep using my garburator for left-over food?
You can continue to use in sink disposal units but the food waste bins are preferred. Paper towels and other food-soiled paper can make up a large part of kitchen waste. These typically can’t go into a garburator, but are accepted in the food waste bins. If you are using a garborator for large amounts of food scraps please also consider how much water is used in the process.
Are backyard composters now legal?
No. Backyard composters are still prohibited due to their potential to attract wildlife.
Where do the food scraps go?
They're transported to a facility in the Calgary area, where they are composted and then used in farming applications.
What about restaurants and schools?
We are planning to start a commercial food waste collection program (businesses and institutions) in fall 2020. We have to first expand the Waste Management Centre in order to manage large amounts of food waste separately from garbage. The current pilot program is for residents only.
Can baby wipes go in the Food Waste Bin?
No, baby wipes belong in the garbage. They are not compostable or recyclable and they cannot be flushed down the toilet.
Can used facial tissue (e.g. Kleenex) go in the Food Waste Bin?
Why don't the neighbourhood bin lids have a lever to keep them open?
Levers were not installed on the food waste bins because of the potential of them being left open and attracting wildlife. We recognize that it can be challenging to hold the lid open and dispose of food waste at the same time, so on a trial basis we are installing a lever on the bin at the Boulder Crescent Recycling Depot. This location is fenced and has Town staff present on a more frequent basis, making it the most appropriate location to try having a lever. If you see the bin left open please close it and notify Public Works at 403.678.1580.