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Multi-family food & yard waste requirements


As of Nov. 1, 2017, multi-family buildings like apartments and condos are required to separate food and yard waste from the garbage for composting or diversion. As a building owner or manager, you are responsible for setting up a food and yard waste program – see the requirements below.

Since Feb. 1, 2016, all multi-family buildings must provide recycling for residents. See recycling bylaw requirements.

You are also now required to provide signage on all collection containers and education to residents at least once per year. See the signage and education requirements.

Food & yard waste program requirements

1. Who - Decide who will provide collection service

There are many collection companies that service multi-family complexes. They will provide you with collection and container options, and signage and support to communicate your program to residents.

You have the flexibility and choice to seek out a collection company that best serves your building's needs, and manage the contract as you see fit. For a directory of collection companies that provide food and yard waste (organics) services, visit Green Calgary.

If you already have City of Calgary garbage service or are interested in learning more about The City's commercial collection service for food and yard waste, visit Waste and diversion resources for businesses and organizations​ or contact 311 for more details.

2. What - Make sure you accept the right material

Your program must accept the following items:

Plate scrapings
Plate Scrapings  
Meat, fish, shellfish and bones
Meat Fish Shellfish and Bones  
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables  
Bread, noodles, rice, beans and grains
Breads Noodles Rice Beans Grains  
Eggshells and dairy products
Eggshells Dairy Products  
Jams, sauces, salad dressings and cooking oils
James Sauces Dressings Oils  
Pastries, cookies, cakes and muffins
Pastries Cookies Cakes Muffins  
Nuts, seeds, chips, popcorn and candy
Nuts Seeds Chips Popcorn Candy  
Paper plates, paper towels and napkins
Paper Plates Napkins  
Coffee filters and tea bags
Coffee Filters Tea Bags  
Plants and weeds
Plants Weeds  
Branches and prunings
Branches and Prunings  
Grass clippings and sod
Grass Clippings Sod  
Not included: Pet waste. In order to be compliant with the bylaw, your multi-family complex does not need to include pet waste in your food and yard waste diversion program.

3. Where - Decide where to store your food and yard waste

You will need to find an on-site location to store your complex's food and yard waste. The location should be easy for your residents to use and have enough containers so that they are not overflowing between collection days.

There is a wide range of multi-family layouts, so the look of this space will vary from complex to complex. You will not generate more garbage by separating food and yard waste. By diverting this material, you will be reducing the amount of garbage left over.

We recommend speaking to a collection company who can help you find a suitable storage location.

4. Inform your residents about the food and yard waste program

Food and yard waste diversion will be a new program for your multi-family complex. Residents will need to be informed of the food and yard waste opportunity available to them.

You will need to ensure that there is clear signage on the containers that indicates the materials that can be disposed. This helps residents quickly understand which containers materials should go into.

You will also need to inform your residents of the list of food and yard waste materials that can be collected and the proper method for preparing and sorting waste material for collection.

This information needs to be shared at least annually, and when a new resident moves in. A letter template for residents is available on multi-family tools and resources.

You can also check our program tips page for suggestions to help promote a food and yard waste program in your building.​