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How the Green Cart program works


Green Cart compost giveaway

The City of Calgary will be offering free compost for residents to use in their yards and gardens this spring. To learn more, visit Green Cart Compost Giveaway.

Who receives green carts

All single-family homes (up to and including fourplexes) have received green carts. Eligible homes cannot opt out of the program. If you live in an apartment or condo, find out about food and yard waste diversion requirements for multi-family complexes.

What each home receives with their green cart

In summer and fall 2017, green carts and starter kits were delivered to each home.

Residents received everything they need to get started:

If you have an additional suite/unit in your home, similar kitchen pails can be purchased at home improvement stores or you can reuse an ice cream pail, etc.

  • Green cart (240 L) - the green cart is approximately 109 cm high, 62 cm wide and 72 cm deep. If you are building an enclosure for your carts, please make sure to measure your cart(s) first. Carts may vary in size due to changes in manufacturer and supply. The green cart can hold 60 kg of material.
  • Kitchen pail (7 L) - to collect food scraps inside the home. The pail is 23 cm high, 30 cm wide and 23 cm deep. Please note that if your kitchen pail is damaged, The City will not provide you a new one. You can purchase kitchen pails at any big box or hardware retailer. You can also reuse any container with a lid that seals, such as an ice cream pail.
  • Starter supply of compostable bags - to line the kitchen pail. Find out where to purchase additional compostable bags and other alternatives.
  • Starter supply of paper yard waste bags - for extra yard waste that doesn't fit inside the cart.
  • Instruction guide and collection schedule

Program details

What goes in your green cart

  • All food, yard waste and pet waste is accepted in the green cart. See a full list of what can go in the green cart.
  • Extra yard waste can be put in paper yard waste bags and it will get collected too. Please ensure your green cart is full first.

In general, food and yard waste can go loose inside the green cart, although we recommend lining your kitchen pail with a compostable bag, newspaper liner or paper bag to make it clean and tidy.

Get step-by-step instructions and tips for using your green cart.

How often carts will be collected

  • Green carts and blue carts will be picked up every week on the same day. Since the majority of household waste is compostable and may smell, this material will be picked up once a week.
  • Black carts will be picked up once every two weeks on a different day than blue and green carts since more than half of our garbage is compostable material that can go in your green cart.

View your collection schedule and sign up for reminders.

Green Cart program rate

Starting in 2018, households will pay $6.50/month.

Although Green Cart service was introduced quadrant-by-quadrant between July and October, billing was initially set to start in all quadrants on January 1, 2018. In September 2017, Council approved a Notice of Motion to also stagger the start of billing by quadrant. This means that everyone will have their fees waived for a similar length of time. 

Billing for the Green Cart service will begin on the following dates:

  • Southwest - January 1, 2018
  • Northwest - February 1, 2018
  • Northeast - March 1, 2018
  • Southeast - April 1, 2018

Black cart 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 monthly rate to $6.50/month.

The Waste Management Charge on your utility bill (ENMAX) is for the costs associated with disposing and managing residential garbage at City landfills.

Why green carts?

Green carts have proven to help residents cut their garbage nearly in half in the pilot communities. On a city-wide basis, that would translate into over 85 million kilograms of food and yard waste kept out of our landfills every year. By using your green cart, you will:

  • Create nutrient-rich compost
  • Protect our land, air and water resources
  • Keep material out of landfills to avoid future landfill costs

Watch ​a video for a more in-depth look at the benefits of composting versus burying food and yard waste in the landfill.​​​​​​​​​​​