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Green Cart FAQ

We've received tremendous feedback about our Green Cart pilot program and upcoming city-wide program. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we've received through our Green Cart email and by talking to participants.

Green Cart program questions

Using your green cart questions

Composting facility questions

Questions about the Green Cart program

When will Green Cart service begin?

We will start delivering green carts, quadrant by quadrant, beginning in spring 2017. All eligible homes should have Green Cart service by fall 2017. More details on the rollout schedule will be shared in early 2017.

How much will I have to pay for this new service?

On May 30, 2016 City Council decided on an indicative rate for the Green Cart program of $6.50 per household per month. All households that currently receive blue cart and black cart collection will receive a green cart and will see this user fee on their utility bill once pickup begins in their quadrant.

What happens to the savings from changing Black Cart garbage collection?

Residential garbage collection (pick-up only) is supported by your property taxes. The savings achieved by changing Black Cart collection to once every two weeks will be invested into the Green Cart program to reduce the Green Cart program fee.

The Waste Management Chargeon your utility bill (ENMAX) is for the costs of disposing and managing residential garbage at The City's three landfills

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

If you're already composting at home - keep it up. The green cart can be used along with your backyard composter since the green cart accepts a wider range of food and yard waste - materials such as meat, bones, fish, shellfish, dairy products, pasta, breads, branches, weeds and pet waste.

When your backyard composter is full, you can put additional food or yard waste in the green cart or in paper yard waste bags for weekly collection.

Can I opt out of the Green Cart program?

No. If you are a resident that currently receives Blue Cart service then you will also receive Green Cart service and pay the monthly rate.

To achieve a significant reduction in garbage we send to landfills, it needs to be a universal program so we can all do our part to keep food and yard waste out of the landfills. Once Green Cart service begins, food and yard waste will no longer belong in the garbage. That's why every home that is eligible is sharing in the cost of the program.

Will The City be removing homeowner's backyard compost bins?

The City will not be removing resident's backyard compost bins. We encourage you to use your green cart for other materials that cannot go in a backyard composter (e.g. meat, fish, bones, dairy, bread, cooked food, pet waste, weeds, etc.) or extra material when your backyard composter is full.

Will apartments and condos receive green carts too?

The Green Cart program is being rolled out to only single-family homes (up to and including fourplexes).

In the fall of 2016, Council will also consider a bylaw change that will require multi-family complexes such as apartments and condominiums to divert food and yard waste. The bylaw will take effect late 2017. For more details, please visit Multi-family Recycling in Calgary.

How is the Green Cart pilot going?

Since starting in March 2012, participation and the amount of food and yard waste we collect continues to grow. Residents in pilot communities have reduced their garbage by 40 per cent compared to other communities without Green Cart service.

Get the full story on How is the Green Cart pilot going?

Are there plans to expand the pilot to other communities?

At this time, we're preparing for the city-wide rollout in mid-2017 and won't be extending the pilot beyond the four communities. In the meantime, we encourage you to take part in The City's seasonal composting programs including the Spring Yard Waste Landfill Drop-off program and the Leaf & Pumpkin Composting program.

Questions about using the Green Cart

How often will carts be picked up?

  • Blue carts will continue to be picked up every week.
  • Green carts will be picked up every week so the waste that causes odours is more frequently collected.
  • Black carts will be picked up once every two weeks on a separate day since 65 per cent of your household waste can be composted instead.

Is it safe to put animal waste into the green cart?

There are no health and safety issues with putting pet waste and kitty litter in the green cart. During the composting process, the material is heated to temperatures at which any harmful bacteria is killed. Learn more about the composting process.

What size is the green cart?

All eligible homes will receive a green cart, the same size as the blue cart.

Does the green cart attract pests or create odours?

The material placed in the green cart is the same material currently placed in your black cart. Lining your kitchen pail with newspaper or a compostable bags and emptying it frequently into your green cart will reduce pests and odours. See more tips for using your kitchen pail and green cart.

Where will I store the green cart?

For several years we piloted green carts in a four different communities, which included a mix of front and back lane collection and different styles of houses. We found residents adapted well to three carts and found storage solutions that worked best for them.

Some pilot residents found storing their blue and green cart in a more accessible location helpful since the majority of their garbage is either recycled or composted, so these carts are used most often. They stored their black cart in a different location since it is only put out for collection once every two weeks.

Also, no more than two carts will be set out at the same time on collection days.

What's the difference between compostable and biodegradable bags?

Certified compostable bags have been independently tested to meet composting specifications. This means the bag will compost completely, leaving no residue behind that will diminish the quality of the finished compost. View a list of certified compostable bag brands and where to buy them.

Biodegradable bags and oxo-biodegradable bags are made of plastic and are not accepted in the Green Cart program. These bags break apart into bits of plastic that diminish the quality of the finished compost.

Questions about the composting facility

Can I bring food waste to your facility?

At this time, the facility will only accept food and yard waste from the Green Cart program and dewatered biosolids from the wastewater treatment process.

What happens to the money from the sale of the compost?

Any profits from the sale of the compost return to the Green Cart program. This revenue is included in establishing the overall cost of the program.