Green Cart Recycling

Food Scraps Banner Food scraps are banned from the garbage, which means they must be recycled or composted, and the City can be charged fines and other penalties when organics are found in the garbage. It is important for every resident to take responsibility for recycling food scraps to keep these organic materials out of the garbage.

What Goes in Your Green Cart?

Accepted Items

Fruit peels and pits (e.g. stems, apple cores and peach pits) Vegetable peelings (e.g. potato peels, corn cobs and husks)
Bread, pasta, rice and noodles (e.g. flour or grain products) Meat, fish, shellfish, bones and poultry
Coffee grounds, filters and paper tea bags Yard trimmings and grass clippings
Newspaper for lining container or wrapping food scraps Fat and grease solids
Paper plates, paper towels and napkins Small amounts of cooking oil that can be wiped up and absorbed by a paper towel or newspaper**
Paper bag liners Table scraps

Not Accepted Items

Coffee cups Pet feces or kitty litter
Compostable and biodegradable plastic bags Plastic bags, overwrap or wraps
Garden hoses and flower pots Plastic wraps or ties
Large amounts of cooking oil and liquid grease Styrofoam cups and meat trays
Lumber Takeout containers

** Larger amounts of used cooking oil, such as oil from fryers, are not accepted in the Green Cart but can be dropped off in sealed containers at the Richmond Recycling Depot.

Additional Green Cart Recycling Information

What to Do With Confusing Items

Do you ever wonder if something should go in the Green Cart? Many types of food containers and packaging are made of more than one material, and these are the items that can be most confusing to recycle. Find out what goes where below:
  • Coffee Cups
    • Keep coffee cups out of the green bin
    • Regular paper cups - Paper cups for both hot and cold beverages have a plastic liner, put these in the Blue Box or Containers Recycling Cart
    • Paper cups labelled "compostable" or "biodegradable" - put these in the garbage
    • Paper sleeves - put these in the Yellow Bag or Paper Recycling Cart
    • Plastic lids - Regular plastic lids can be recycled in Blue Box or Containers Recycling Cart
    • Plastic lids labelled "compostable" or "biodegradable" - put these in the garbage
  • Takeout Containers
    • If you get a paper takeout container, do the grease test. If the grease goes through, it’s safe for the Green Cart. If it doesn’t go through, it may have a coating or a plastic liner, and should go in the Yellow Bag or Paper Recycling Cart
  • Tea Bags
    • If your tea bag tears easily when wet, it’s made of paper and can go in the Green Cart. If it doesn’t rip easily, it’s probably made of plastic, and goes in the garbage.
  • Lined Paper Bags
    • If your paper bag has cellulose on the inside, it can be recycled in the Green Cart. If it’s lined with plastic (even plastic labelled "compostable" or "biodegradable"), put it in the garbage.
  • Plastic Bags
    • Plastic and plastic-lined bags are not accepted in the Green Cart – even the ones labelled "compostable" or "biodegradable." When they end up in the Green Cart, they can cause operational problems, may not break down properly during processing, and may contaminate the finished compost.
    • If you use a plastic bag to line your kitchen catcher, empty the contents of the bag into the green bin, and then throw the bag in the garbage.
  • Plastic Items Labelled "Compostable" or "Biodegradable"
    • Many certified "compostable" or "biodegradable" plastics may not sufficiently biodegrade in existing commercial composting or digestion facilities. To be safe, leave them out of your green bin.
    • Put items labelled "compostable" or "biodegradable" plastic items in the garbage. They are not accepted in recycling in BC.
    • Learn more

Steps to Recycle Food Scraps

  1. Collect food scraps in your kitchen containers.
  2. Empty materials from kitchen container into the Green Cart and close the lid.
  3. For residents with curbside collection - Place your Green Cart at the curb along with unlimited paper yard waste bags and/or Green Can with decals by 7:30 a.m. each week on your designated collection day. When setting your Green Cart out for collection, please ensure access to the sidewalk is not impeded.

For centralized Green Cart service, the collection details are arranged between the City and the Strata Council or Property Manager. Residents do not have to set the carts out for pick up.

Tips to Reduce Contamination

  • Put biodegradable or compostable plastic bags and other non-recyclable items like diapers in the garbage.
  • Plastic bags labelled "biodegradable" or "compostable" are not accepted at local composting facilities because they cause operational problems. These bags may not break down properly during processing and may contaminate the finished compost.
  • If you use a plastic bag to line your kitchen container, empty the contents of the bag into the Green Cart, and then put the bag in the garbage.

Tips to Prevent Odours

Prevent odours from food scraps

  • Wrap food scraps in small amounts of newspaper or used paper towel before adding to your kitchen container.
  • Sprinkle kitchen container with baking soda to reduce odours.
  • Consider freezing food scraps until you're ready to empty them into the Green Cart.
  • Line kitchen container with newspaper or paper bag liner (available for purchase at you local retail stores).
  • Wash your kitchen container regularly.

Tips to Recycle Fats, Oils & Grease

Do not pour fats, cooking oils, grease or sauces down the drain. These materials can block sewer pipes, which can be costly to replace or repair.

Recycling Tips:

  • Absorb small amounts with used napkins/paper towel before washing dishes and recycle napkins in your Green Cart.
  • Bring large quantities of used cooking oil to the Richmond Recycling Depot.

Storage Best Practices

  • Keep animals and insects out by closing and securing Green Cart lids at all times (just as you would with your garbage).
  • Avoid putting food scraps in paper yard waste bags unless you are placing the bags in the Green Cart.
  • Store your Green Cart in a shady area out of direct sunlight, or consider storing your Green Cart and paper yard waste bags inside a shed or garage until collection day

Tips for Recycling Extra Yard Trimmings

  • Ensure Green Can label faces the street to ensure it's easy for collectors to spot
  • Containers cannot exceed 80 L in capacity and cannot weigh more than 20 kg (44 lbs)
  • Keep lids on tight to minimize extra weight from water and keep animals out
  • When closing full yard waste bags tightly fold and secure top of bag
  • Ensure yard trimmings are tied bundles no larger than 3 feet x 2 feet (91 cm x 61 cm) in size and branches must be less than 4 inches in diameter
  • Green Can decals can be picked up at City Hall, Recycling Depot or email Environmental Programs ( for the decals to be mailed to your address.

More Information for Centralized Collection

Green Cart program is available to residents in multi-family complexes like apartments and condominiums to provide convenient food scraps recycling.
  • Green Carts delivered and set up in central collection area
  • Weekly or twice-weekly collection of Green Carts
  • City-provided certified liners for the Green Carts
  • Monthly cleaning service for the Green Carts
  • Complimentary kitchen containers for food scraps for all residents in the building
  • Signage and information materials to support using Green Carts

Opting Out of the Green Cart Program

If a multi-family complex prefers to make arrangements with an alternate service provider for organics recycling, which includes both yard and garden trimmings and food scraps, the City of Richmond offers an opt-out option. To opt out of Green Cart service, the property management company and/or strata council for the multi-family complex must meet the requirements outlined in the Solid Waste and Recycling Regulation Bylaw No. 6803.

This includes completing a Green Cart Opt Out Application Form, an organics waste diversion plan and ensuring the following arrangements are in place:
  • An organics recycling program to collect and recycle yard and garden trimmings and food scraps separately from other garbage;
  • Organics collection receptacle wherever there is a garbage and/or recycling collection point;
  • An odour management plan, which includes cleaning organics recycling receptacles on a regular basis; and
  • Minimum weekly pick-up of organics contracted with hauler/service provider which is confirmed by providing the City of Richmond with a copy of the service contract.
The City must review and approve the organics waste diversion plan in advance and reserves the right to complete site inspections to ensure compliance of the applicant's organics waste diversion plan. If applicants are approved for opting out of the City's service for organics collection, the complex is exempted from the City's charge for this service and is no longer eligible to receive City resources (such as kitchen containers, cart liners, educational materials and other resources) for the implementation of their organics waste diversion plan.

Information for Commercial Operators

Metro Vancouver lists companies that provide organics recycling service. Most commercial operations require customized recycling services, which do not fit the parameters of the City’s Green Cart program. For details on service options available, please, select the link that's relevant to you:
For other commercial sectors, please call Recycling Council of BC at 604-732-9253

Multiple Green Cart Sizes Available

Green Carts are available in multiple sizes and they're on display at the Richmond Recycling Depot. Please email Environmental Programs Office or call 604-276-4010 or for details. The cost to exchange a Green Cart is $25.
2021 Green Cart Sizes

New or Replacement Kitchen Containers

Two ways to get a kitchen container:
  1. Pick up at Richmond Recycling Depot
  2. Call 604-276-4010

The Debate on Garburators

Should you use a Garburator or other in-sink disposal system instead of the Green Cart? No, in-sink disposal systems are not an environmentally friendly option to get rid of your food scraps. It requires a considerable amount of water to run, can cause grease build up and blockages, increases cost for the City's sewer system and sewage treatment facilities and negatively impacts aquatic life.