FAQs

These are questions we have been hearing from you.

Please read through these Frequently Asked Questions. If you still have questions,please call:

Utilities at 250.361.0226 regarding:

  • Changing the size of your Grey Bin
  • Reporting a damaged bin
  • Billing
  • Registering for the Helping Hand Program

Public Works at 250.361.0400 regarding:

  • Missed pick up
  • Your collection schedule
  • A missing or stolen Green or Grey Bin
  • Reporting a damaged bin

I am looking for my Kitchen Scraps and Garbage collection schedule.  How can I find out when my collection days are?

If you are looking for a  collection schedule, click here.  You can enter you address and then print a calendar or sign up for collection day reminders.  Collection day reminders are available by email, text, tweet or voicemail.  You can also integrate the collection schedule into your online calendar.

Collection schedules were not delivered to each home this year.  Residents that don't have computer access can call 250.361.0400 and a printed schedule will be delivered to their home. 

Where are our City of Victoria kitchen scraps currently being processed?

The CRD manages the processing of the kitchen scraps that we collect in Victoria. 

As an interim solution for kitchen scraps processing, effective April 10, 2014 kitchen scraps collected within the City of Victoria will be hauled to the Hartland Landfill and then transported with other regional kitchen scraps to Richmond, BC for processing.  Harvest Power will then use anaerobic digestion to create electricity from these kitchen scraps.  The remaining material will be processed into compost for use in farms and gardens.

This is a temporary measure to treat kitchen scraps as a resource and to keep them out of the landfill. The Capital Regional District manages the processing of kitchen scraps for the majority of municipalities within the region.  They are continuing to work on a long term solution to process kitchen scraps within our region.

 To learn more about how renewable energy and compost are created through the anaerobic process at Harvest Power click here: http://www.harvestpower.com/bc/technology/.

How can I make sure I get my bins back at the end of collection day?

Each set of bins has an identification code and belongs to a specific address.  Please collect your own bins after each collection day.  To make this easier, you can write your address and unit number (not name) in permanent marker on the lid of your bins.

How strong should my compostable bags be?  Mine seem to break down quickly.

Compostable bags are designed to help contain kitchen scraps and reduce moisture and odour. They are also designed so that they do not negatively affect the quality of the compost that is produced. The ECOSAFE brand that the City of Victoria sells have been known to break down slower than other bags, but when they are used the compost produced is of a high quality and can be sold as regular compost (Class A). This is important for both human and environmental health.

Is the City of Victoria selling compostable bags?

Yes. Large rolls of 90 compostable bags can now be purchased for $10 plus tax from the Public Service Centre at City Hall and at the Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre. By purchasing large quantities of these bags the City is able to pass along these savings to residents. Compostable bags, paper bags or newspaper must be used to contain your kitchen scraps. Plastic bags and biodegradable bags are not accepted, as they do not break down in the composting process.

As it gets warmer what can I do to keep my bins clean and reduce the odour of my bins?

Here are a few tips:

  • If possible, find a place to store your green and grey bins that is out of the sun.  During the summer you might want to store them in your garage, if that is an option.
  • Always use compostable bags, paper bags or newspaper to line your kitchen catcher.  This will help contain your kitchen scraps when you transfer them to the larger green bin.  It  will also help reduce moisture and odour and will help to keep your large green bin clean.
  • Rinse out your kitchen catcher, green bin and grey bin on a regular basis.  Rinsing your bins and using the approved bags for your kitchen scraps will help to prevent items from sticking to the bottom of your bin when they are dumped. Extra crumpled up newspaper at the bottom of your bin will also help to keep your bin clean.
  • During the summer months it is a good idea to freeze your waste meat products, in a large freezer bag or container.  The day before your pick up, empty these bags into your green bin.  You can sign up for convenient email, twitter, text or voicemail collection day reminders here.
  • Sprinkling baking soda in layers throughout your green bin will also help reduce odours.  Please don't put large amounts at the bottom of your bin.  It is more effective to sprinkle it in layers as you add your kitchen scraps to the green bin.

How can I keep my bins clean in the summer heat?

Here are a few tips:

  • Rinse your bins after every collection day with water and vinegar.
  • Always use certified compostable bags or paper bags with your green bin. This helps to reduce moisture.  Biodegradable and plastic bags are not accepted.
  • Adding extra crumpled newspaper to the bottom of your bin will also absorb moisture and ensure your bin empties fully on collection day.
  • Keep your bins out of the sun, except for collection day.
  • Sprinkle baking soda into your green bin to reduce odors.
  • Freeze leftover meat waste and other higher odor compostable materials in large ziplock bags or ice cream tubs and them empty them into your green bin just before collection day.

What can I do to reduce the amount of fruit flies in my kitchen catcher?

Empty your kitchen catcher on a regular basis or at the end of each day if necessary.  Rinse your kitchen catcher with warm soapy water or vinegar to ensure that you are not getting a build up of kitchen scraps in your kitchen catcher, as this will also attract fruit flies.  Lining your kitchen catcher with a compostable bag, paper bag or newspaper will help reduce moisture which also attracts fruit flies.

If you still have persistent fruit flies you can make fruit fly traps with a bowl of soapy water, that the fruit flies will be attracted to and then stick to.  You can also place a small amout of sweet liquid in the bottom of a cup, cover it with plastic wrap and then poke small holes in the plastic wrap.  This will also create a trap for the fruit flies.

Is Saanich's new kitchen scraps program the same as Victoria's?

We are moving towards the same goal of keeping kitchen scraps out of the landfill, but the details of our program are different. 

What can go in the Green Bin?

All kitchen scraps can go in the Green Bin. Kitchen scraps include:

  • All food leftovers: fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, meat, fish and poultry, bones, dairy products, tea bags, coffee grinds and filters, nuts and shells, solidified fats and grease. Houseplants, cut and dried flowers can also be included.
  • Food- soiled paper products: food soiled paper towels and napkins, flour and sugar bags and soiled paper food packaging such as used paper cups and plates.

What can go in the Grey Bin?

These are some examples of garbage that belong in your Grey Bin:

  • Make-up remover pads, cotton swabs and balls
  • Dental floss, rubber bands
  • Dryer sheets and lint
  • Cigarettes and butts
  • Vacuum contents and bags
  • Pet food bags and other wax-lined bags
  • Foil chip and cookie bags
  • Butter wrappers
  • Pet feces or litter
  • Hair
  • Bread clips or ties
  • Diapers, baby wipes, used tissues with human waste
  • Sanitary hygiene products, condoms

Can I put avocado pits in the Green Bin?

Yes.  These will break down and turn into compost.

Can I put oyster or clam shells in Green Bin?

No.   As you can see with shell middens along our beaches, clam shells can take hundreds of years to break down.

Can I put crab shells in the Green Bin?

Yes.  They are soft enough that they will break down into compost.

Can I put all of my used tissues in the Green Bin?

Food soiled paper products do belong in the Green Bin.  If they have cleaning products, chemicals or any human waste on them, they belong in the Grey Bin.

Will there be a fine for putting kitchen scraps in the Grey Bin for garbage?

No. However, if kitchen scraps are found in the garbage, or if garbage is found in the kitchen scraps, a note will be left for the customer and the bins will not be picked up.

Do you have to line the kitchen catcher and the 120L Green Bin ?

You do have to line your kitchen catcher with either a certified compostable bag, a paper  bag, or newspaper.  The City of Victoria is now selling large rolls of compostable bags.  A roll of 90 bags is $10 plus tax.  Most grocery stores and home supply stores also carry compostable bags.  Here is a list of suppliers.  Your 120L Green Bin does not need a larger bag to line it.

What kind of bags can I use in my kitchen catcher?

You can use bags with the compostable mark on them, or newspaper or paper bags.  All three options will reduce the moisture and smell in your kitchen catcher, but can be processed into compost with your kitchen scraps.  Here is a list of accepted compostable bags with the compostable mark on them.  

We will not accept plastic bags, including plastic bags made from recycled content (like many shopping bags).  These bags take a very long time to break down and we don't want plastic in the end compost product.  Biodegradable bags are also not accepted.  Biodegradable bags have been designed to breakdown into smaller pieces of plastic over time, but will still leave pieces of plastic in the compost.

Do I have to put my garbage in bags in the new Grey Bins?

 We recommend that you continue to use bags to collect garbage in the kitchen and to transport it to the grey bins outside.  This will also maintain the cleanliness of your grey bin, which the home owner is responsible for. Bathroom and pet waste, dust, sawdust, and cold ashes must be bagged in your container. Broken glass must be wrapped or boxed, clearly marked and kept outside your grey bin.

Will garden waste be collected with the Kitchen Scraps and Garbage Program?

The garden waste drop off service will not change.   If you have a  City of Victoria residential Kitchen Scraps and Garbage account, you can drop of garden waste at the Public Works Yard (417 Garbally Road, Saturdays from 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.).  Note: Please arrive before 1:30 p.m. to guarantee that your waste will be processed before closing at 2:00. This is a year-round program that is included in your user fee.  Please bring your Kitchen Scraps and Garbage utility bill or a drivers licence showing residence at a property that has kitchen scraps and garbage service.  The fall leaves pick up service will also not change. Read more about the City of Victoria Leaf Pick-up.

Can I build an enclosure for my Green and Grey Bins?

You can build walls around the far sides of your bins, but you cannot fully enclose them with a gate or door.  City staff need to be able to pull your bins from where they are stored, without opening a gate or door.  To read the Solid Waste Bylaw click here.

If I have a gate that needs to be opened to gain access to my backyard, will City staff open it when they are collecting the Green and Grey Bins?

No.  Your Green and Grey Bins need to be infront of any gate that you have on your property.   If you have a gate, please leave it open on your collection day or place your bins outside of the gate.  To read the Solid Waste Bylaw click here.

 

Will City staff bring my bins up a few stairs when they empty them into the trucks?


No.  The new bins will not be lifted up stairs.  This is in the Solid Waste bylaw.  Please leave your bins at the top of any stairs that you might have.  This can be at the front of your yard, the side of your yard or at the back of your yard.   To read the Solid Waste Bylaw click here.

Can I leave my bins at the side of my yard or at the front of my yard?

Although the program will still collect bins from your backyard, with no gates and steps, you can choose to place your bins at the side of your yard or the front of your yard.  The empty bins will then be returned to the front of your property.  To read the Solid Waste Bylaw click here.

Can I swap my Green Bin for an extra Grey Bin?

No.  Each residential unit is given one Green Bin and one Grey Bin.  Organics will be banned from the Hartland Landfill in 2015 and the City of Victoria Solid Waste bylaw indicates that all households must separate kitchen scraps from garbage.  If you do compost most organic items in your backyard, that is great.  There are some items such as solidified fats and grease, bones, and food-soiled paper products that are best processed in the Green Bin. 

If my bins are broken should I continue to use them, until they are fixed?

Yes.  Please fill in the damaged bin form and send it to Utilities.  You can continue to use your bin until staff come to your property to repair or replace your bin.  They will bring an extra bin to transfer your waste into while they repair or replace your bin.  Our new trucks need to work with the new bins that can be mechanically lifted.   In most cases, our staff will repair your bin while at your property.

Where can I get a new Kitchen Catcher?

If you would like to replace your kitchen catcher, this is your responsibility.  They can be purchased at most hardware or home supply stores.  They are also available for sale at the Greater Victoria Compost Education Centre.

If I have a mobility challenge, can I apply for assistance to have my empty bins returned to the back of my yard?  

Yes. If you have a mobility challenge and will not be able to return your empty bins from the curb and did not select the “Helping Hand” box on the selection card this summer, please fill in the following application form.  If you are under 80 years old, you will need to provide an existing accessible parking pass or provide a note from your doctor.  If you are over 80 years old, no doctors note is needed.  The application form is available here [PDF - 140 KB].  Please fill it in and return it to utilities@victoria.ca or drop it off at City Hall.  If you have questions please call 250.361.0266.

If I have extra garbage what can I do?

With the new program, you can now choose the size of your Grey Bin for garbage.  Click here to learn more.  

 If you only have a few extra bags per year, here is information that will help you:

Extra Garbage Tickets

If you occasionally have more garbage than will fit in your Grey Bin, please purchase Extra Garbage Tickets ($4 each) at the Public Service Centre at Victoria City Hall, the Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre or at the City's five parkades.  This ticket must be attached to each extra bag of garbage and they must weigh less than 15 kilograms (33 pounds).  Please place these bags and their tickets beside your Grey Bin for pick up.  If you consistently have more garbage than will fit in your Grey Bin, you can request a larger sized Grey Bin for an additional annual fee.

Please note, extra garbage drop-off is no longer available at the Public Works Yard.  Click here for more information about other options.

What happens when it snows?

To maintain safe access to garbage cans, clear a path free of snow and ice to prevent injury to your collector. Collection will depend on road conditions. Missed pickups will be collected as conditions improve. Visit the City of Victoria web site for updates on garbage collection during snow, or check local media for announcements. If you have signed up for our online collection reminder program, we will send you an update directly.

Is this the kitchen scraps and garbage program optional?

If you currently have garbage collection services with the City of Victoria, you are included in the kitchen scraps and garbage program. According to City of Victoria bylaws, you can not opt out of the Kitchen Scraps and Garbage program unless you are a residential complex that has four or more units. 

If I have less garbage, can I pay less? How will this work?

The program rewards people with less garbage by offering the option to have a smaller grey bin for garbage, at a reduced annual cost. 

All customers have the option of choosing the standard Grey Bin for garbage (120L) with an annual collection cost of $211.02, a smaller Grey Bin (80L) with an annual collection cost of $184.02  or a larger Grey Bin (180L) with an annual collection cost of $235.02.  

Please call 250.361.0226 or email utilities@victoria.ca.  There is a $30 bin change fee to cover the bin replacement cost.

The standard Green Bin is be 120L.

 

What are the dimensions of the bins?

cm:

80L: depth 55 cm, width 41 cm, height 87 cm or
120L: depth 54 cm, width 49 cm, height 96 cm
180L: depth 74 cm, width 60 cm, height 97 cm

inches:

80L: depth 21 5/8”, width 16 1/8”, height 34 3/16”
120L: depth 21 1/16”, width 19 1/8”, height 37 5/8”
180L: depth 28 3/4”, width 23 1/2", height 37 1/2”

 

Do the bins have latching lids?

 The 80L and 120L Grey Bins are latching, as are the 120L green bin.  The largest 180L Grey Bin does not have a latch, but has been designed to be sturdy enough so that racoons won't be able to open it or push it over.

Are the new bins pest resistant?

The bins are both compact, sturdy and the 80L and 120 L Grey and Green bins feature latching pest-resistant lids. The large 180L Grey Bin has been designed to be sturdy enough so that raccoons won't be able to open them or push them over.

Here are some tips on how to avoid conflicts with wildlife:

  • Store your Green Bin in a secure location such as a garage or sturdy garden shed.  Put it outside the day before or the day of collection.
  • Use a spray bottle filled with a bleach solution to deodorize the lid and exterior of your green bin to prevent food odours from attracting wildlife.
  • Sprinkle food waste with garden lime. Lime aids the composting process and reduces odours that might attract wildlife.

Can I have a smaller Grey Bin than the 80L option?

Not at this time. The bin sizes have been designed taking into consideration the current amount of waste being picked up, and knowing that approximately 30% of the current waste stream is made up of kitchen scraps. As the program evolves and as recycling options in the region evolve the size of the bins will be evaluated.

I don't have enough room for both a Grey Bin and Green Bin.   Are there any other options? 

No. All residences will be issued both a grey bin for garbage and a green bin.  Multi-plexes with four or more units can request space saver options, that would offer fewer, but larger bins, but a green and grey bin would still be part of the program.

If I have a duplex will I get two Grey Bins and two Green Bins?

Yes, every residential unit gets their own set of bins.  You will have a choice of size for your Grey Bins for garbage, like all other customers.

Will the City of Victoria pick up any extra Green or Grey Bins?

Yes.  Please call 250.361.0400 if you have extra bins that you aren't using.  There will be no charge to pick them up, but if you do request to have them back at a later time, the $30 bin replacement fee will apply.

How will the kitchen scraps and garbage be collected?

The large wheeled Green Bins and Grey Bins will be for storing kitchen scraps and garbage and for pick up. The smaller kitchen catcher is for storing and transferring food waste from the kitchen to the larger bins. These bins will work with the new trucks and will make pick-up safer, quicker and easier.

Is there an additional cost for the new Kitchen Scraps and Garbage Program? Will I have to pay for this new program, along with my existing garbage program?

No. The new kitchen scraps and garbage program will replace the current garbage program in February 2013.  The standard Kitchen Scraps and Garbage program (120 L green bin and 120 L grey bin) will be $183 per year, per household - a $19 reduction in cost from your current garbage only program ($202).

Will there be an additional cost for these new bins?

There will be no additional charge for these bins. The cost will be included in the annual collection costs.

How much will I pay on my utility bill with the new Kitchen Scraps and Garbage program?


Your utility bill that arrives 3 times per year will be as follows, per residential unit:

120L standard grey bin +120L green bin = annual collection fee $211.02 = utility bill $70.34

80L small grey bin +120L green bin = annual collection fee $184.02 = utility bill $61.34

180L large grey bin +120L green bin = annual collection fee $235.02 = utility bill $78.34

Can any plant material go in the green bin?  What are the restrictions?

Houseplants and cut and dried flowers can go in your green bin.  Yard waste is not permitted in the green bin and must be taken to the Public Works Yard.

I already compost in my backyard? How will this program affect me?

If you already have a backyard composter, continue to use it. This program goes beyond what can be composted at home by accepting cooked food, meat, bones and food-soiled paper and paper packing such as waxed fast food cups.

If your garbage is currently picked up by the City of Victoria you will be included in the kitchen scraps and garbage program next year. The new program will also reward people with less garbage by offering an option to have a smaller grey bin for garbage, at a reduced cost.  For composting tips visit the Greater Victoria Compost Education Centre.

How much waste will be kept out of the landfill with the new Kitchen Scraps and Garbage program?

  • The City of Victoria collects garbage from over 14,000 households each week.
  • Currently, each day 1.5 tractor trailers of residential garbage from Victoria is taken to the Hartland Landfill. This adds up to 4,800 tonnes of garbage each year.
  • Kitchen scraps represents 30 per cent of waste, so taking kitchen scraps out of the garbage will divert 1,500 tonnes of waste each year.

Beyond reducing the waste we send to the landfill, why is the City of Victoria introducing a new Kitchen Scraps and Garbage Program?

 The City of Victoria will be purchasing new trucks and a mechanically lifted bin system and this means new options for how garbage is collected in Victoria.

The new collection program will:

  • Allow people with less garbage to pay less by offering standard size grey bins for garbage, or smaller grey bins at a reduced cost. Larger bins will also be available at a higher cost.
  • Convert waste into resources such as fertilizer or compost.
  • Help shrink our community's carbon footprint - helping us moving towards our goal of reducing Victoria's community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020.
  • Reduce worker injury with the use of mechanically-lifted bins.

Will the blue box recycling program be affected?

No, the CRD will continue to collect these items in the blue box program.

CRD Blue Bag

  • Clean newspapers and inserts
  • Clean mixed paper products
  • Shredded personal documents

CRD Blue Box

  • Clean rigid plastic packaging
  • Clean rigid plastic containers
  • Clean plastic and metal lids
  • Clean aluminum and tin cans
  • Clean glass bottles and jars
  • Clean foil and foil plates
  • Tetra Paks and milk and juice cartons

Cardboard

  • Clean corrugated cardboard
  • Clean pizza boxes

Not Accepted in Blue Bin Program

  • Household hazardous waste, motor oil or antifreeze
  • Ceramics, sheet glass, pane glass or glassware
  • No hangers(wood, plastic or wire)
  • No plastic bags or Styrofoam

To find out where to go to recycle items that are not accepted by the curbside blue box program, visit the CRD's Online Recycling Directory or contact the CRD Hotline at 250.360.3030 or email hotline@crd.bc.ca.

For any other recycling information, contact the Recycling Council of BC Hotline at 1 (800) 667-4321.

Will I be able to include styrofoam meat trays in the Kitchen Scraps and Garbage program?

At this point in time, they can not be included in the blue box program, but Hartland Landfill will accept up to 2 large bags of styrofoam per visit.   They can currently go in the grey bin for garbage.

Will it still be okay to put out extra garbage bags with a “ticket”?

Yes.  We are encouraging customers to pick the grey bin for garbage that will be the best size on an ongoing basis.  Garbage tickets will still be available for purchase, to accommodate for extra garbage throughout the year.

What has the City of Victoria done in terms of community consultation around the new kitchen scraps and garbage program?

The City of Victoria is committed to consulting the community on three options for the future of kitchen scraps and garbage collection in Victoria. The program will remain a user-pay system so the collection option most preferred by the community will be implemented. Community engagement in the fall of 2011 included:

  • Open Houses: The City of Victoria hosted two open houses on November 24 and 26, 2011. Information from these open houses can also be found on the website www.victoria.ca/greenbin along with two videos about the new program and the survey.
  • Mail-in Survey: In early December 2011, all household that were currently receiving garbage services from the City of Victoria had the opportunity to provide feedback on the three collection options.

Why will the new garbage bins be grey?

Grey bins attract less heat than black bins, which helps reduce odours during the summer.

How long will the Green and Grey bins last?

They have been designed to last approximately 10 years.  As the bins age, there will be an active maintenance program to keep them in good shape.  The bins have also been designed to be fully recyclable at the end of their lifecycle.  For example, the steel in the wheels will be separated and the plastic will also be recycled.

What should I do with my existing plastic or metal garbage bins?

Please re-use or recycle your old garbage cans.  Wash and disinfect your old cans and use them to:
• Store your household's emergency kit: What to include in your home's emergency preparedness kit [PDF - 549 KB]

• Store pet food or outdoor toys or garden supplies.

Recycling Options:

Plastic Can Free Drop Off 

Syntal Plastics will accept plastic cans to reuse them in their plastic wood products that they produce on Keating Cross Roads.

Ellice Recycle will recycle your plastic cans for $10 each.

Metal Can Recycling Options:

Ellice Recycle- both metal and plastic garbage cans can be recycled here: http://myrecyclopedia.ca/facilities/26/ellice-recycle.aspx
Metal cans will be accepted free of charge. Steel Pacific- Metal garbage cans can be recycled here free of charge: http://myrecyclopedia.ca/facilities/127/steel-pacific-formerly-budget-steel.aspx

How do I know if I currently have garbage collection services with the City of Victoria?

The City of Victoria currently picks up garbage from single family residences, duplexes, and triplexes. We service some small multi-family units such as four-plexes and small apartments and condos. You will pay for garbage service on your City of Victoria utility bill.

If I live in a condo can we receive the new kitchen scraps and garbage program in the future?

The new kitchen scraps and garbage program will automatically be put in place for existing City of Victoria garbage customers. Some condos and apartments are currently included in this service, but most are served by private companies. If you are served by a private company ask them about their options for kitchen scraps collection. If you have any questions about this please call 250.361.0448.

If I currently have my garbage picked up in a laneway, what will happen with the new trucks?

When the trucks are delivered this fall, the City of Victoria will be doing site visits to all laneway properties. This will help determine the accessibility of the lane for the trucks. If a particular lane is too small, your bins will be picked up from the street side and not the lane side of your property.

Are garbage collection services, including the new kitchen scraps and garbage program paid through our City of Victoria taxes?

No, the current garbage collection services and the future kitchen scraps and garbage services are both a user pay utility. The costs of the service are charged directly to the users. This will not change.

If I sell or move, do I take my bins with me?

The bins should be left at the home, as the city will be collecting them for the new owner or tenant.

For more information:

Watch the kitchen scraps and garbage collection videos to learn more at www.victoria.ca/greenbin.

Please call Utilities at 250.361.0226 if you have further questions about:

  • Changing the size of your Grey Bin
  • Reporting a damaged bin
  • Billing
  • Registering for the Helping Hand Program

Please call Public Works at 250.361.0400 if you have further questions about:

  • Missed pick up
  • Your collection schedule
  • A missing or stolen Green or Grey Bin

If you have additional questions, you can also email greenbin@victoria.ca.