| Environmental Columns

Tips and tricks for your green organic waste bin

Organic waste collection is an important tool for reducing our ecological footprint, diverting food and yard waste from landfill, and producing compost. But does your green bin ever smell? Are small rodents attracted by the contents of your bin? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you avoid these problems.   

To collect food waste, opt for a transfer container that can be installed on the kitchen counter and emptied regularly into the collection bin outside. If you don’t use the kitchen cone provided by the City, an ice cream container with a lid stored in a convenient place will do just fine.   

To prevent material from sticking to the sides and to limit odours, place a paper towel or newspaper at the bottom of the container. 

Preventing odors 

  1. Maintaining your bin

 Wash your container with white vinegar, pure or diluted (25 centilitres of vinegar in 1 liter of water). Apply the vinegar to the inside and outside of your container, then rinse. It’s important to let your bin dry out before adding residual materials.  

  1. Use a deodorizer

 Baking soda, white or green clay  

To absorb odors, pour baking soda or white or green clay into the bottom of the empty bin. You can also add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil. After the collection, remove the remaining baking soda or clay and clean your container with white vinegar to limit odours.  

 Newspaper and essential tea tree oil  

Lay newspaper on the bottom of your container and spray it with a mixture of a few drops of essential tea tree oil diluted in a small amount of lukewarm water. You can also pour two drops of oil directly onto the paper. After the collection, remove the remaining newspaper and clean your container with white vinegar to reduce odors.  

  1. Other tips 
  • Freeze or chill leftover meat, poultry or fish. 
  • Let your leaves or grass clippings dry before putting them in the bin, as they can give off a strong ammonia odor. 
  • Keep your bin out of direct sunlight, and take it out for every collection, no matter how much material is in it.  

 Keep small animals away   

  • Take the same precautions as with household waste. 
  • Apply menthol cream around the lid. 
  • Secure the lid with an elastic cord, which must be removed for collection. 

 Prevent flies and maggots   

  • Wrap leftover meat, poultry or fish in newspaper or a paper bag before putting them in the bin. You can also refrigerate or freeze them until the day of collection.  
  • Alternate your table scraps with dry materials in the bin (paper towels, newspaper, sawdust, wood shavings, dead leaves, etc.).  
  • Don’t put large quantities of liquids in your bin.  
  • Keep your bin out of the sun, with the lid closed, and take it out into the street every week.  
  • To eliminate grubs, spray them with hot water, salt or a mixture of water and vinegar.  


In winter, to prevent material from sticking, place a layer of paper-straw or a piece of cardboard at the bottom of the bin. You can also use a paper bag.  

These tips will help you get all the benefits of waste collection without the inconveniences. For full details of the collection process, visit the Organic Waste page.