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Green Cart Program


As of 2017, all eligible neighbourhoods  have received green carts, completing the four year plan to collect organics from all single family homes in Yellowknife.  The Centralized Compost Program looks forward to supporting multi-family units (MFUs) to join in the near future.

Click here to see the Centralized Compost Program's infograph.

For property managers, condo board and multi-family residents who are eager to have their organics collected, please read our MFU Guide to Composting.

 *For collection purposes, the Frame Lake neighbourhood is split into to two sub-groups that follow different pick up schedules. Refer to this map to confirm what your pick-up day is.  Residents can also enter their address into the Re-Collect  platform for collection schedule information and  weekly reminders via email or social media.

 Guide to Curbside Organics Collection brochure

Green Cart Starter Kit

Everything you need to know to start recycling organics with the Yellowknife Centralized Compost Program:

Green Cart (Organics): Questions and Answers
Why should I separate my food waste?

Composting is a proven and effective way to simultaneously reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the City's landfill and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the environment. By separating your organic waste at the source, you can potentially reduce your overall household waste by half!

Why are we getting green carts?

Together, green and black carts provide a more efficient and environmentally sustainable waste reduction system. Through curbside collection, the City aims to divert almost a third of Yellowknife's waste, turning it into quality compost.  

Curbside collection is a relatively easy way to reduce both the amount of waste going into our landfill and our overall amount of greenhouse gas production. This helps save money, extends the life of the city's landfill, and reduces Yellowknife's impact on the environment.

When will you collect my organic waste?

Your organics and garbage will be collected on alternating weeks. To keep things simple, curbside collection is on the same day of the week as your garbage collection. Waste collectors will alternate to offer you garbage one week and organics the next. You can view the Range Lake Collection schedule calendar. as well as the Frame Lake, Grace Lake and Hall Crescent area calendar.

To look up the calendar for your street address, or set an electronic reminder, see below under "My Schedule". Please note that the electronic calendar does include newer developments such as Grace lake and Hall Crescent area.

What can I compost?

Generally speaking: food scraps, including meat, bones, and dairy. As well as soiled napkins, used facial tissues, and pizza boxes. For a detailed list, see the "Do's & Don'ts" overview. Please don't put pet litter, plastic, or personal hygiene products in your kitchen catcher as these will have to be removed manually. Diapers, whether compostable or regular, don't belong in the green bin either.

I'm already composting at home, why do I need a green cart?

If you're already backyard composting at home, keep it up! The green cart can be used along with your backyard composter since the green cart accepts materials that take longer to compost such as meat, bones, fish, shellfish, dairy products, pasta, breads, small tree clippings and weeds.

Do I have to use bags? If so, what kind of bags do I use?

Using compostable bags is not mandatory. If you choose not to use bags, then we recommend lining the bottom of your green cart with newspaper. This will prevent food scraps from sticking to the bottom of your cart.

Please use only certified compostable bags, cereal boxes, newspaper, and/or brown paper bags. These are available at most grocery stores, hardware stores, and pharmacies in Yellowknife.

Please do not use biodegradable or oxo-biodegradable bags, as these will leave plastic particles in our compost.

Will it smell?

Not any more than your garbage does!

The carts were designed specifically for food scraps, with custom vents and the lid to ensure adequate ventilation, reducing the amount of moisture, and thus reducing bad odours.

But, if you notice that your green cart is starting to smell, there are a couple simple things that you can do to help keep odours to a minimum. Try the following:

  • Try lining your green cart with newspaper. You can also put newspaper in after every time you add food scraps to help keep moisture to a minimum.
  • Sprinkle a little baking soda in the bottom; you can even layer a bit of baking soda as you add new material to the pile.
  • Wash your cart regularly after pick-up (once every two weeks).
  • Keep meat, fish, and expired food in the fridge or freezer, and put them out the night before collection.
  • Keep your cart in the shade to reduce odours and prolong its lifespan.
Will it attract animals?

The risk of animal attraction is virtually the same as our current garbage collection system. In other cities, both green and black carts (vs. black garbage bags), have proven successful in reducing the amount of animals that get into garbage and organic waste, as well as have a proven ability to keep residential neighbourhoods cleaner.


The potential presence of insects is usually the result of high moisture levels in your green cart. Here are some quick tips to keep your moisture levels low and maggots at bay:

  • Integrate dry carbon material such as newspaper and dried yard waste into your compost bin.
  • Salt and/or baking soda are also great a reducing moisture and deterring maggots. Sprinkle a bit at the bottom of your bin and whenever you see fit as you add organics to your bin.
  • Keep the "wet" foodscraps in a large freezer bag or Tupperware and place in freezer until the day before pick-up.
Are these carts designed to endure a northern climate?

Yes! These are the same carts that are currently being used in Whitehorse and they have endured the winters quite well. Kavanaugh Waste Removal Services has also been selling these carts to Yellowknife residents for many years. Reports from both Kavanaugh and the residents indicate that the carts work well in our climate.

What if my cart is stolen or broken?

If your cart needs to be repaired or replaced, contact the Solid Waste Facility at (867) 669-3406 or

I'm moving, what do I do with my cart?

Your cart belongs to the location it was received at. If you move, leave your cart behind for the next residents.

How do green carts affect the garbage limit in my neighbourhood?

Once you receive green cart pick-up, the amount of non-organic garbage you can throw away will be reduced but your total overall allotment will be increased.

However, if you do not live in a neighbourhood that currently has green cart pick-up, then the green carts will not affect you and the normal two bag limit is still in effect for the time being. For more information regarding black carts, please refer to Black Cart: Questions and Answers.

Can residents outside the chosen neighbourhood participate in the Centralized Compost project?

Yes, the City invites all residents to participate in advance of your neighbourhood's phase in date!

There is a special bin for household food scraps  located next to the salvage area at the Solid Waste Facility. It is labelled "Organic materials only." Residents can drop off food scraps at this bin free of charge.

When placing food scraps in the the large public organic bins, please use a paper or compostable plastic bags, or simply dump the loose material into the bin. Please, do NOT include any plastic bags as they will need to be removed manually. Compostable bags are available at many local stores and must have the certified compostable logo to be accepted.

I have a garburator and put all my organics in there. Should I participate in the organics collection?

You should! There are some items, such as bones and soiled paper products, that you would not want to put in your garburator. Put them in your green cart instead!

In some cities, organics are collected bi-weekly in winter and weekly in the summer - is this something that could be done in Yellowknife?

At this time, this is not a service that the City of Yellowknife is offering.  If this is something that would help you with collection, contact us at the Solid Waste Facility.

Will multi-family units be receiving green carts?

The City does not handle waste collections for Multi-Family units. Multi-Family units are asked to reach out to Kavanaugh Bros. for more information on organic collections.

Will there be different size carts offered?

At this time, only the 120L green cart is available.

Can I leave my green cart on the curb or road?

Carts are to be stored on your property and only placed on the road for your collection day.

When does my cart need to be put out for collection?

Carts are to be placed on the road for collection between 6 pm the night before collection and 7 am the day of collection. Carts must be removed from the road by noon (12 pm) on the day following collection. Leaving carts on the road unnecessarily impedes traffic, road maintenance such as street sweeping, winter road maintenance and snow removal operations.

Did we miss your questions? Let us know!

Kitchen Catcher: Questions and Answers
What is the smaller Kitchen Catcher bin for?
The small beige bin with green lid, commonly known as the "Kitchen Catcher," is for daily household convenience. Generally placed under the kitchen sink or fastened to a cupboard, this saves a trip to the Green Cart every time you want to dispose of your organics and avoids having the Green Cart indoors. The kitchen catcher can then be emptied into the green cart as needed.
What can and can't I put in my Kitchen Catcher?
For a detailed list, please click here. Generally speaking, if it is a plant or animal based product (e.g.; leftovers, food scraps, food-soiled napkins) then it is compostable. Please don't put pet litter, plastic or personal hygiene products in your kitchen catcher as these will have to be removed manually.
How can I reduce the potential of  fruit flies in my Kitchen Catcher?
  • Empty your kitchen catcher on a regular basis, or at the end of each day if necessary.
  • Remember to wash your kitchen catcher regularly with warm soapy water or vinegar.
  • You can also line your kitchen catcher with newspaper, a compostable bag, or paper bag to reduce the amount of moisture in the bin, which attracts fruit flies.
  • Fruit flies are also particularly enticed by sweet, rotting fruit. So if you find that fruit flies are particularly bad, keep the rotting fruit in a container in your freezer, and put it in your green cart the night before you take it to the curb.
I keep forgetting to separate my food scraps! Help!
To get into the habit of placing food scraps into the kitchen catcher, move the garbage can to a different location and replace it with your kitchen catcher. It is estimated that 40 - 50% of your waste is compostable. Place kitchen catcher in a convenient location, such as on the counter or beside the garbage can to help you remember to use it.
Do I have to line the Kitchen Catcher and the 120L green cart?

Liners and compostable bags keep food scraps from sticking to the bottom of your cart and catcher. Particularly in winter, it's better to line your carts with a certified compostable bag. You don't necessarily have to use a bag in both your green cart and your kitchen catcher, but you should use a bag in at least one of them.

Do not use biodegradable or oxo-biodegradable bags; they are a plastic product that will essentially break down into smaller pieces of plastic. We do not want plastic in our compost.

Please use only certified compostable bags, newspaper, and/or brown paper bags. These are available at most grocery stores, hardware stores, and pharmacies in Yellowknife.

Did we miss your questions? Let us know!

Green Cart Rollout Schedule
  • 2014 - Range Lake
  • 2015 - Old Town/Niven/School Draw
  • 2016 - Frame Lake/Grace Lake/501 (Hall Crescent area)/Northlands
  • 2017 - Downtown

See the Green Cart Rollout Schedule Map.

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Hours of Operation

Winter Hours effective following the Labour Day Weekend
until prior to the Victoria Day Weekend (September to May)
Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Closed

Summer Hours effective following the Victoria Day Weekend
until prior to the Labour Day Weekend (May to September)
Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Closed

Mailing Address & Phone Numbers

Yellowknife City Hall
4807 - 52 Street, P.O. Box 580, Yellowknife, NT X1A 2N4

Switchboard - (867) 920-5600
Mayor/City Administrator - (867) 920-5634
Booking Clerk - (867) 669-3457
Municipal Enforcement (MED) - (867) 920-5630
After Hours (MED) - (867) 920-2737
After Hours (Public Works) - (867) 920-5699