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Ward 1 News: Green Cart

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Ward 1 official websiteCity-wide Green Cart Program

Council directed Administration to include a Green Cart Program Rate of $6.50 per household per month for 2017 and 2018 as part of Action Plan 2015-2018 Mid-Cycle Adjustment process and return to Council with amendments to the Waste & Recycling Bylaw.  This will enable Waste & Recycling Services to fund the Green Cart Program and establish the new service level for residential Black Cart garbage collection as committed to in Action Plan 2015-2018

The Ward 1 office has received calls and emails regarding the Green Cart Program. For your convenience, please see the most common questions our office has received below. For more information, visit the Calgary Green Cart Program website, the City's frequently asked questions, and how the Green Cart program works.


Ward 1 Green Cart Question and Answer

Q: Why didn’t I have a say in the green cart program?

On November 7, 2011, Council directed Administration to implement a residential food and yard waste diversion pilot to commence in 2012.  In March, 2013, Administration returned with the pilot results and recommendations for an organics diversion program. The results from the pilot program showed an overwhelming support for an organics diversion program:

• 91 per cent support a city-wide program
• 89 per cent satisfaction with the pilot program
• 89 per cent satisfaction with pilot communications
• 83 per cent satisfaction with the size of cart
• 78 per cent do not have concerns with having 3 carts
• 72 per cent satisfaction with garbage collection once every two weeks

On March 18, 2013, a member of council asked if there will be a final public engagement on the findings from the Green Cart Pilot Program. Rob Pritchard, General Manager, Utilities and Corporate Services, advised that The City already conducted extensive public engagement to show support for the program. For more detail, go to the council minutes.

Administration reported the following results from stakeholder engagement, research and communication, which supported the recommendation for a city wide green cart plan.

Engagement & Research

• 12 open houses (February and April)
• 3 telephone surveys (February, June, December)
• 3 sets of in-home interviews (May, September, February 2013)
• 2 focus groups (June, December)
• Household visits (August)


• Information brochure and calendar (February, March 2013)
• 2 media events (February, June)
• 3 direct mail outs (June, September, January)
• Bold signs (September)
• 4 Aldermanic updates (March, June, September, January 2013)
• Included as part of the Transforming Government initiative (on-going)
• Calgary City News blog (ongoing)
• Website (ongoing)
• 311 (ongoing)
• e-mail (ongoing)
• Facebook (ongoing)
• Too Good to Waste video (

Q: Why is The City implementing green carts?

The City found that after providing many years of backyard composters at a subsidized cost, only 30% of Calgarians are composting at home. The City is seeing almost 60% of residential garbage going to landfills in food and yard waste.

Food and yard waste in landfills does not breakdown into compost or soil.  This is because food and yard waste needs oxygen to decompose into compost. When this material is placed in a landfill, it gets mixed up with other garbage, which is quickly buried and compacted. Often the garbage stays in an airless environment, and very slowly breaks down, which can take decades. As it breaks down, the food and yard materials release significant amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

The green cart is a city wide program aimed at reducing waste and greenhouse gases, which will decrease our dependence on landfills. In the 2012 pilot, garbage dropped by 40 percent in pilot communities compared to other communities without green cart service. As a result, black bins will be picked up twice a month instead of four times. The green bin will be serviced weekly, and thus replace a heavy reliance and need of black bins.

Q: Do we have a choice to opt out of green carts?

I have received many calls and emails from residents upset with the additional fee of green carts. I do understand the fee is burden for many households. Unfortunately, green carts are mandatory, in order to make it as economically feasible as possible.

Q: What if I already compost?

I understand many people currently compost and view this green cart program as unnecessary. However, I was informed that the green cart can be used along with your backyard composter, since the green cart accepts a wide range of food and yard waste that a regular composter does not, such as meat, bones, fish, shellfish, dairy products, pasta, beans, oils, jams, sauces, paper plates, napkins, breads, and branches.

Q: How much will this cost?

When the green cart program launches city-wide in 2017 there will be a fee for service to single family households receiving the service. Council will be asked to approve a monthly fee of $6.50 per household in November 2014.

Q: Will the green cart be picked up every week, even in the winter when there is less yard waste? 

There is much less yard waste generated during the winter months, however, there will be food waste.  Based on the experience in the green cart pilot and feedback from participants, Waste and Recycling has committed to picking up the green cart on a weekly basis throughout the year.  The City will continue to collect blue carts weekly as well but change black cart collection (garbage) to every other week. However, The City of Calgary is always evaluating the effectiveness and efficiencies of all programs. Once the green cart service is launched across the city, The City will continue to evaluate the program and make changes as needed.

This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.

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