Residential Food Waste and Garbage

Residential Food Waste

Food waste is no longer garbage. Food scraps and food-soiled paper will be collected separately to produce high-quality compost.  


Food Waste Bin Locations


Accepted items

Meat and Dairy

  • fish
  • shellfish
  • bones
  • eggs
  • yogurt
  • cheese

Grains and Baked Goods

  • pasta
  • rice
  • bread

Fruits and Vegetables

  • rinds
  • pits
  • husks

Coffee Grounds and Tea Leaves

  • coffee filters
  • paper-based tea bags

Left-over Food Scraps

  • plate scrapings
  • sauces
  • small amounts of cooking grease

Soiled Paper

  • napkins
  • paper towels
  • paper plates
  • pizza boxes
  • stir sticks


Not Accepted Items

Plastic or Biodegradable Bags

  • Biodegradable bags only break into small pieces of plastic.

Bags with a certified compostable logo are accepted.

Small Plastic and Metal

  • fruit and veggie stickers
  • twist ties
  • elastics
  • break bag clips

Take-away Cups and Foodware

  • styrofoam
  • paper cups with a waxed or plastic lining
  • plastic cutlery

Only certified compostable take-away items are accepted.

Waxed Paper

  • butcher paper
  • ice cream boxes

Large Amounts of Liquids

  • milk
  • soup broth

Pet Waste and Diapers

Yard and Garden Waste

Accepted at 115 Boulder Crescent Recycling Depot from April to November.

If in doubt, throw it out!

Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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!

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.

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.

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 garburator for large amounts of food scraps, please also consider how much water is used in the process.

No. Backyard composters are still prohibited due to their potential to attract wildlife.   

They're transported to a facility in the Calgary area, where they are composted and then used in farming applications.

The Town of Canmore has a Commercial Food Waste Collection program.

No, baby wipes belong in the garbage. They are not compostable or recyclable and they cannot be flushed down the toilet.


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.

Garbage Collection

Animal proof brown garbage bins are located conveniently throughout Town in all neighborhoods.  The bins are emptied on a regular basis and help manage garbage collection while keeping wildlife safe in the valley.

Tips for Garbage Collection

  • Please make sure the lids are closed after you deposit your garbage in the bins. It's only bear-proof if the bin door is fully latched.
  • If the bins are full, locate the next closest bin in your neighborhood- which should not be far away
  • If you see a bin that needs to be emptied contact the Solid Waste Services team at 403.678.1580.