Are Garbage Disposals Legal in Canada? Unveiling the Truth

Are Garbage Disposals Legal in Canada? Unveiling the Truth
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In the quest for kitchen convenience and waste management, many Canadians wonder about the legality of garbage disposals in their homes. This article explores the regulations surrounding garbage disposals in Canada, answering common questions and addressing the curiosity surrounding their legality.

Are garbage disposals legal in Canada? Garbage disposals are banned in certain Canadian municipalities, but not all of Canada. The primary reason for the ban is related to concerns about the strain these disposals put on wastewater treatment systems. Some cities, particularly those with older infrastructure, worry that the increased load of food waste might overwhelm the treatment facilities. It's crucial to check with local authorities to understand if there are specific regulations in your area.

Many communities are adopting Sepura, the garbage disposal alternative that’s allowed where garbage disposals are banned. Sepura can be installed in areas with garbage disposal bans because all food washed down your sink is sent to an odor-proof compost bin, only liquids drain.

composting garbage disposal alternative

Sepura is also known as a composting garbage disposal, and stops food from flowing through your home’s plumbing and entering wastewater treatment plants. This significantly reduces strain on your home’s plumbing and on wastewater treatment plants.

“Technologies that reduce the amount of food waste going down drains help protect the treatment capacity at wastewater treatment plants in Burlington and beyond.” - Megan Moir, Division Director of Water Resources, City of Burlington, VT

where in Canada are garbage disposals banned

Where in Canada are garbage disposals illegal?

In various municipalities in Ontario, such as Toronto, Ottawa, Markham, Vaughan, and Guelph, the installation of garbage disposals is prohibited.

Additionally, in other communities like Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary, the use of these units is actively discouraged.

Fortunately, these bans and discouragements do not include Sepura. This composting garbage disposal alternative is allowed everywhere because no food drains down your homes plumbing and into wastewater treatment plants.

If you want the convenience of a garbage disposal while making composting clean & easy (and stopping food clogs), learn more about Sepura here.

City of Toronto

“The City's sewer use bylaw (Chapter 681 of the City's Municipal Code) prohibits the use of garburators where the effluent will discharge into a storm or combined sewer system”

City of Ottawa

“Please note the Sewer Use By-law No. 2003-514 prohibits the use of garbage grinders (also called garburators) within the City of Ottawa.”

City of Markham

“Use of an in-sink garbage disposal system is not permitted; do not pour any garbage down drains.”

What communities in Canada discourage the use of garbage disposals?

Cities such as Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary discourage the use of garbage disposals. Vancouver has even proposed a garbage disposal ban, due to the excessive clogging in sewers. 

City of Vancouver 

“As part of the Vancouver Building By-Law updates, the City of Vancouver is proposing a prohibition on garburators and Food Waste Disposers (Food Waste Grinders, Garburators).”

City of Edmonton

“There is currently no specific ban in place, however, you will find apartment buildings in Edmonton that prohibit garburator installation specifically due to older pipes.”

City of Calgary

Cheryl Harmsworth, program manager of the Strategic Water Initiative for the City of Calgary, says the city “at this time is neither promoting nor banning garburators.” However, she also says “composting is the better option for the disposing of food waste.”

What is a Garbage Disposal Called in Canada?

In Canada, a garbage disposal is often referred to as a "garburator" or "food waste disposer." These terms are commonly used, and you might hear them in casual conversations or when discussing kitchen appliances.

Understanding the Environmental Impact of Garbage Disposals

why are garbage disposals banned in areas in Canada

Unlike Sepura, garbage disposals can introduce complexities to waste management and environmental stewardship. Here's a breakdown of their impact:

Wastewater Treatment Centers:
  • Process: Garbage disposals send food scraps through home plumbing, eventually reaching wastewater treatment centers.
  • Outcome: The food waste is subjected to various treatment processes. However, the final destination varies.
Landfill or Incineration:
  • Process: In many cases, treated food waste is sent to landfills or incinerators.
  • Outcome: This poses environmental challenges, contributing to methane emissions from landfills and air pollution from incineration.
    Anaerobic Digestion:
    • Process: Some wastewater facilities divert food waste to anaerobic digestion plants for energy conversion.
    • Outcome: This eco-friendly method generates renewable energy, contributing to sustainable waste management.
      Impact on Lakes and Water Bodies:
      • Concern: Disposal of food waste in water systems introduces nitrogen, potentially harmful to marine and plant life.
      • Consideration: Areas with water shortages face energy and water-intensive challenges in treating food waste through pipes.

        Understanding the intricate journey of food waste through disposal systems highlights the need for conscientious waste management practices.

        Whether it's reducing food waste at the source or advocating for advanced disposal technologies, individuals play a vital role in shaping a sustainable future.


        In Canada, garbage disposals face legal restrictions due to environmental concerns, with some provinces permitting them under specific conditions.

        Our exploration sheds light on the environmental impact of wastewater treatment on nearby lakes, emphasizing the need for responsible waste disposal practices.

        Amidst these considerations, Sepura emerges as an innovative solution, promoting composting and sustainability. Whether adapting to regulations, exploring alternatives, or enhancing waste management understanding, individual actions contribute to a greener future.