Multi-family recycling requirements

Since February 1, 2016, all multi-family complexes must have recycling for residents. This includes condos, apartments, townhouses or any building with five or more units.

As of November 1, 2017, multi-family complexes must separate food and yard waste from the garbage for composting or diversion. To learn more, please visit Food and Yard Waste Bylaw Requirements.

You must also provide signage on all collection containers and education to residents once per year. See the Signage and Education Requirements.

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.

Program resources

Find tools and resources, including guides, posters, letter templates and program tips. Visit Multi-family Food and Yard Waste Resources.

Subscribe to our email newsletter to receive updates about multi-family waste diversion. Subscribe to our newsletter.

If you have questions about a food and yard waste or recycling program in your building, we can help. Fill out the online request below or contact 311 and we can discuss how we can help.

Recycling program requirements

Below are the four things building owners and managers must decide when setting up a recycling program.

1. Who - Decide who will provide collection service

You can hire a recycling collection company the same way you hire a garbage hauler, landscaper or other service provider. You have the flexibility to find a company to best meet your needs and the freedom to manage the contract as you see fit.

Green Calgary has a list of recycling collection companies that service multi-family complexes.

The City of Calgary Commercial Collection offers a suite of garbage, recycling and food and yard waste collection services to address your collection needs. Learn more.

Please note: Professional recyclers and haulers are not allowed to use the community recycling depots per the Waste Bylaw.

2. Make sure you accept the right material

Your recycling program must accept:


Cardboard Boxes
Cereal Boxes

Boxboard and corrugated cardboard

Mixed paper

(Newspaper, catalogues, magazines, mixed paper, telephone books, shredded paper)

Glass Jars

Glass jars and bottles

Food cans

Food cans and foil

Milk jugs
Soda cans

Refundable beverage containers

Detergent Bottle
Plastic shells

Plastic containers with the recycling symbols 1-7, except polystyrene foam

Hazardous Materials Can't Be Recycled

Plastic bags

Plastic bags
(Should be bundled in a tied plastic bag)

Tetra Pak Soup Box
Tetra Pak

Juice and soup boxes (such as Tetra PaksTM)


3. Where - Decide where to store your material

You will need to find an on-site location to store your recyclables. This location should be easy to find and access, and have enough containers or capacity to hold all the materials.

Even if you don't have extra space where your garbage is stored, there are other solutions that can work for you. We recommend speaking to a recycling collection company who can help you find a suitable storage location(s), or appropriate containers for the amount of recyclable material your residents generate.​​​​​​​

4. How to inform your residents about your program

A recycling diversion program is required at your multi-family complex. Residents need to be informed of the recycling opportunity available to them, and how to use the program.

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. This can be in the form of a poster above the container(s) or with a decal applied to the container(s).

You will also need to inform your residents of the list of recyclable materials that are accepted in the program, and the proper method for preparing and sorting material for collection.

This information needs to be shared at least once per year, and when a new resident moves in. Find a letter template for residents on Multi-family Diversion Resources.

You can also check our Multi-family Program Tips  for suggestions to help promote a food and yard waste program in your building.

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 an inspection by a Bylaw enforcement officer, who may issue a violation ticket or fine.

How can I get more information?

For tools, resources and the most up-to-date information, visit Multi-family Diversion Resources. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, contact 311.