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Leading Calgary to zero waste

We're serious about recycling and composting, and have set ambitious goals to reduce waste going to our landfills. Our vision is to lead the community towards zero waste through innovative recycling, composting and diversion programs.

In 2015, City of Calgary Council approved a revised target of 70 per cent waste diversion by 2025 averaged across all four sectors – single and multi-family residential, business and organizations, and construction and demolition. For the full details, see the Council minutes.

We have set specific diversion targets for each sector:

  • Single family – 70 per cent
  • Multi-family – 65 per cent
  • Business and organizations (Industrial, Commercial and Institutional) – 75 per cent
  • Construction and demolition – 40 per cent

Background of our waste diversion strategy

80/20 by 2020

In 2007, Council approved the 80/20 by 2020 waste diversion strategy.

Our original plan included recycling and composting programs, landfill bans and education. We said those activities had the potential to reach 70 per cent waste diversion and the remaining 10 per cent would be achieved through waste-to-energy technology.

The 80/20 plan called for the introduction of the Blue Cart program in 2009, the Green Cart program in 2010 and waste-to-energy in 2018.

We did start Blue Cart in 2009 as planned but Green Cart will launch city-wide in mid-2017 once the indoor composting facility is completed. This has altered our original timeline.

Updated timeline and future plans

Our revised target of 70 per cent waste diversion overall by 2025 extends the original timeline by five years.

We have taken several steps to increase recycling, composting and other diversion in all sectors.

Those include amendments to theWaste and Recycling Bylaw requiring multi-family residences as well as businesses and organizations (the industrial, commercial and institutional sector) to recycle. We’re also revisiting our strategy for construction and demolition waste.

Once all the recycling and diversion programs are in place and all efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle have been explored, we plan to revisit the possibility of using waste-to-energy technology to deal with any left-over materials.

We know such facilities are expensive and many of the technologies are still not commercially viable. Calgary can learn from the experiences of other cities before we recommend a significant investment.