Abbotsford residents are encouraged to place as much material in curbside recycling and compostables so that we can minimize the amount of waste going to landfill. If everybody works together, we can meet our regional waste diversion goals!
Please note that all curbside material must be contained in a cart with a closed lid. Overflowing carts or other loose or bagged material will not be collected.
We have provided some tips on how to maximize space in your carts and deal with excess waste.
- What's in your recycling cart matters! Do not include stretchy plastics, foam packaging, glass, books or other items that are not accetpted at the curb. Placing materials in your recycling cart that aren't accepted take up cart space and could result in your cart not being collected. For more information on what is accepted in your recycling cart, view the Curbside Cart Collection Guide, use the City's Waste Wizard, or view additional information on the website.
- Do not bag recyclables. All items must be placed loosely inside your blue recycling cart.
- Break down and flatten cardboard and boxes.
- Cut large pieces of cardboard into smaller sizes so they fit inside the recycling cart.
- Crush, compact and compress! Stomp on milk jugs and other bulky plastic containers. Crushing and making items as small as you can before placing them in the cart will help you fit more material inside.
- Do not pack down waste inside your recycling cart. Tightly packed material inside your carts may get stuck and not empty properly.
- Store extra recycling until your next scheduled recycling collection day. Old curbside containers are perfect for storing any extra recycling!
- Drop off items for free at a local recycling depot. Remember you will need to sort your recyclables into seperate bins at the depot; bags of mixed recycling is not accepted. Use the City's Waste Wizard to find a depot or other drop off location near you.
If you regularly have more recycling than what will fit inside your blue recycling cart, you can request a larger 360L cart. The size of your recycling cart will not impact your solid waste user fees, but cart administration fees will apply. Visit our Carts page for more information on how to request a larger recycling cart.
- Reduce your packaging. Buying in bulk, using reusable containers, choosing items with less packaging, and reusing items will help decrease the amount of material you need to manage.
- Many items in good condition can be donated for reuse. Or, consider listing the item in your local newspaper, or on Facebook, Craigslist, Freecycle or Kijiji or another on-line listing service.
- Consider repurposing an item into something new. Taking an empty container and repurposing it for storage, decor or gift wrap can give the item new life and keep it out of your cart. Search online for ideas on how to repurpose items for use around your home.
- Check to see if something is accepted in your recycling or compost cart. You may be surprised to discover that almost everything can be recycled or composted. Use the City's Waste Wizard to search whether something can go in your blue recycling cart or green compost cart.
- Items that are broken or in poor condition may be accepted for free at a recycling depot or other drop off location. Use the City's Waste Wizard to search for reuse, recycling or disposal options near you.
- View our Waste Reduction page for other ideas on how you can reduce the amount of waste you generate.
If you regularly have more garbage than what will fit inside your grey garbage cart, you can request a larger 360L cart. The size of your garbage cart will impact your solid waste user fees and cart administration fees will apply. Visit our Carts page for more information on how to request a larger garbage cart and what the associated fees are.
Extra Yard Waste
If you regularly have more yard waste than what will fit inside your green compost cart, you can request a larger 360L cart and/or request a second compost cart that can be either 240L or 360L in size. Visit our Carts page for more information on how cart size or number will affect your annual solid waste user fees.
The City of Abbotsford provides a yard waste coupon program that allows residents to drop-off yard waste at a local composting facility. Property owners that receive the City’s curbside collection service are provided with six yard waste coupons each year. Each yard waste coupon is good for one free drop-off of material at Net Zero Waste Abbotsford. Visit the City’s Yard Waste Coupon page for more information on this program.
If you have used up all your coupons, or are not in the City’s curbside collection program, you can drop-off yard waste for a charge at a number of locations in Abbotsford. Use the City’s Waste Wizard to find a drop-off location near you.
‘Grasscycling’ means leaving your mowed grass on the lawn, allowing it to decompose and release water and nutrients back into the soil. It promotes a healthier and deeper root system, increases grass resistance to drought and disease and helps keep moisture in the soil. Leaving your clippings on your grass can also save you maintenance time by eliminating raking, decreasing watering needs, and leaving more room in your green compostables cart.
Mulching leaves is another great option for managing extra yard waste, especially in the fall when leaves are falling from trees and accumulating in yards. Leaves can be mulched and used in gardens and planting beds, and used as a filler in your backyard composter. Take the grass catcher off your mower and mow over the leaves on your lawn, reducing your leaf clutter into dime-size pieces. If using the mulched leaves in your garden, rake them up and scatter them over the garden bed. Allow the leaf bits to decompose and release nutrients back into the soil. Matted layers of unmulched leaves can negatively affect lawns, so make sure to mulch to the point where the leaves smother the grass.
Backyard composting is a great way to manage food and yard waste in your own backyard. There are several different styles of backyard composters available at local retailers, both online and in store. You can also build your own backyard composter. For a detailed guide on how to make a composter, view Metro Vancouver’s Compost Bin Construction Plans. You can also find more information on how to get started with backyard composting on the Compost Council of Canada website or the Compost Research and Education Foundation website.
You will need three ingredients to get started with backyard composting:
- Browns – this provides a carbon source for your compost.
- Greens – this provides a nitrogen source for your compost.
- Water – this provides moisture to help break down organic matter.
Adding equal amounts of browns and greens, layering organic material of different sizes, and chopping or shredding larger pieces will help keep your composter functioning properly. If your compost pile seems dry add water. The microorganisms that break down your compost need moisture to survive and effectively decompose your compost. Too much water can slow down the decomposition process by preventing airflow. This can create anaerobic conditions, which creates a strong and unpleasant odour.
Your compost needs equal amounts of ‘brown’ and ‘green’ material. It is good to alternate layers and cover every layer of greens with a layer of browns in order to prevent odour and flies. Examples of ‘greens’ include vegetable/fruit scraps, coffee grounds, plant trimmings, leaves, flowers, grass clippings. Examples of ‘browns’ include dry leaves dry grass clippings, paper towel, paper straws, paper napkins, newspaper, cardboard, paper, and paper bags.
To avoid attracting pests such as rodents and to minimize odors, always avoid composting materials such as meat, fish, bones, grains, breads, baked goods, dairy products, oils, grease, food cooked with oils, cat waste, or dog waste.
Issue Problem Solution Bad odour from compost Pile is too wet, not enough air Add dry material (brown material) and turn the compost Pile is too dry Not enough water, too much brown material Turn the pile, add more green material, and water pile Pile is damp and sweet-smelling but is not breaking down Imbalance of green and brown material Make sure equal parts of green and brown material is added Too many flies Food scraps not covered Cover green material with brown material Rodents or birds Open the bin, incorrect food scraps added, or location issues Don’t add items that don't belong in compost, make sure top layer is brown layer, relocate bin to an open area, use a rodent-resistant compost bin
Your compost is ready to harvest when the compost at the center and bottom is decomposed and moist. Dig out the compost with a shovel, use the door at the bottom of a commercial bin, or if you have built your own, remove the top new layers of material and dig compost from the center
Compost is a soil amendment that can improve the health of lawns, flowerbeds and gardens. It enhances soil structure, increases soil nutrient content, improves moisture retention and fosters plant health. While compost may look like dirt or soil, it is neither. Compost needs to be used along with soil and cannot be used as a replacement for soil. Compost can be used in many ways such as a mixing the compost into your soil or spreading it on top of your existing soil.
Our friends at Net Zero Waste Abbotsford recommend the following application methods when using compost:
Flower & Vegetable Gardens: Spread ¼” Compost 5-10 cms (2”-4”) over the area and work into existing soil, water thoroughly.
Backfill Planting Mixes: Make a hole 2-3 times the size of the plant root ball. Mix 1 part Compost with three parts of the soil removed and replace underneath, around and on top of root ball. Water thoroughly.
Dressing Established Lawn: Spread Compost on existing lawn without burying completely. Rake in gently and water thoroughly.
New Lawns: Spread 2-5 cms (1”-2”) of ¼” compost over the area to be seeded and blend into existing soil. Add seed as directed. Water thoroughly until germination is complete.
Alternatively, you can consult your garden centre, nursery or horticultural expert to determine how to best mix this compost for your specific application. Additional tips on how to best use compost is available through the following links:
A great option for homes that do not have space outdoors for a composter is to compost indoors using a special type of a bin. This type of composting is called worm composting or vermicomposting. A properly managed bin will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad. You can purchase an indoor worm composter from retailers online or in store; just search ‘worm composter’ and there are a variety to choose from. The US Environmental Protection Agency instructions on how to create and maintain an indoor worm composting bin.