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Multi-family food and yard waste for owners and managers

Starting Nov. 1, 2017 multi-family buildings like apartments and condos must separate food and yard waste from regular garbage for composting and diversion.

Similar to our multi-family recycling requirements, as a building owner or manager, you have the flexibility to seek out a food and yard waste service provider and decide the best way to offer and manage the service for your residents.

Is your building a multi-family complex?

We define multi-family complexes as five or more units on the same parcel of land.

This includes high-rise and low-rise apartments, townhouses, condos, mobile home parks, housing co-operatives and housing developments on private roads.

Flexibility and choice

The bylaw is designed to give you choice and flexibility about how food and yard waste is stored and collected. You are able to choose the following:

  • How your food and yard waste will be collected
  • Where and how your food and yard waste is stored
  • How often your food and yard waste is collected

Multi-family food and yard waste requirements - what do I need to do?

1. Who - Decide who will provide collection service

There are many collection companies that service multi-family complexes. They will provide you with a range of collection and container options, signage and support to communciate 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.

You can also haul your own food and yard waste if you take the material to a food and yard waste processing facility. View a list of processing facilities.

We're also here to help - if you have questions about the upcoming changes, please contact 311.

2. What - Make sure you accept the right material

Your program must accept the following items:

  • All food (raw and cooked)
    • Plate scrapings
    • Eggshells and dairy products
    • Meat, fish, shellfish and bones
    • Jams, sauces, salad dressing and cooking oil
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Pastries, cookies, cakes and muffins
    • Bread, noodles, rice, bean and grains
    • Nuts, seeds, chips, popcorn and candy
    • Coffee filters and tea bags
  • Yard waste*
    • Leaves
    • Branches and prunings
    • Plants and weeds
    • Grass clippings

*In multi-family complexes, yard waste is often handled by landscaping companies. Consider asking your service provider how they dispose of yard waste.

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.

Collection companies should be able to help you find a suitable storage location. For more tips on storing food and yard waste, please see our food and waste program tips.

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 to 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 education and resources.

How will this be enforced?

The City believes in an education-first approach to bylaw enforcement. We will strive to provide information about the bylaw requirements so a recycling and/or food and yard waste diversion opportunity is offered to multi-family residents. If further steps are not taken, building owners could be subject to a fine.

Why isn't multi-family recycling or food and yard waste covered by property taxes?

Recycling collection and food and yard waste collection in Calgary is not tax-supported for either single or multi-family homes.

The Blue Cart recycling program and Green Cart composting program are funded through user fees. Food and yard waste diversion programs set up by multi-family complexes will be funded by the fees paid to service providers.

Why do we have one year to implement a food and yard waste program?

The City is providing multi-family building owners with 12 months to implement a food and yard waste program to give you time to find an option that works for your complex. It also provides time to adjust your waste collection as more material is diverted from the landfill.

How do I get more information?

The multi-family food and yard waste education and resources page has lots of tools to help, including posters and letter templates, and details about upcoming information sessions and other opportunities for assistance. For updates about multi-family waste diversion, please sign up to our email newsletter below:

Subscribe to our newsletter​​​​​

Other questions or feedback

If you have concerns about recycling in your building, we can help. Fill out the online request below or contact 311 and a Waste & Recycling Services representative will talk to you about your concerns and the assistance we can provide.

Multi-family Food and Waste Inquiry​​​​​