Calgary recycling


“80/20 by 2020” is the City of Calgary, AB, Canada’s (pop. 1,149,452) waste-reduction motto and goal. This grassland city, the largest municipality in the Alberta province and the third largest in all of Canada, aims to recycle 80% of its total waste by 2020, completely reversing the current trend of 20% recycled and 80% landfilled waste. But, through contemporary recycling programs, the city is sure to reach its goal, perhaps even early. Calgary’s “blue cart” single-stream recycling system is available to all single-family home residents in the city, as well as to small buildings with four dwelling units or less. The program costs roughly $7.10 per month for all users. The fee is set to increase to $7.40 per month in 2013 and $7.70 per month in 2014.

Materials recycled

Paper Including cardboard (cereal boxes, pizza boxes, toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, tissue boxes), catalogs, magazines, newspapers, flyers, paper, letters, envelopes, greeting cards, brochures, nonfoil giftwrap, paper bags, shredded paper (in a tied clear plastic bag), telephone books, paperback books and tetra packs. Plastics Including clean plastic jugs, bottles and food containers (lids OK) numbers 1 through 7; plastic bags (bundled in one large bag and tied); bubble wrap; plastic wrap. Metals Including food cans, metal lids, aluminum cans, clean aluminum foil. Glass Clean food and drink bottles and jars


Curbside pick-up occurs on a weekly basis, day of the week depending on location (a collection schedule is available online.) Blue carts must be placed curbside or “back lane” by 7 a.m. on the day of pick-up.

Other programs

The neighborhoods of Cougar Ridge, Brentwood, Southwood and Abbeydale introduced a green cart pilot program in March 2012. The green cart, used for food waste (which currently makes up 60% of Calgary’s total waste mass), is a single-stream system designed to help the city create high-quality compost and lessen landfill dependence. Alberta has a beverage container refund program. For more information, see the Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corp. Oversized or large-quantity items can be taken and deposited at Calgary’s community recycling depots. At press time, there were nearly 50 depots across the Calgary area. The City of Calgary subsidizes backyard composting. Compost bins are available for $35. In the fall, the city hosts a leaf and pumpkin composting drive at various drop-off points around town. Information on the 2012 program is TBA. Electronics recycling is available to Calgarians at multiple drop-off centers around the city. Acceptable items include TVs, laptops, desktop computers, printers and most computer monitors. A full list of accepted items and drop-off locations is available online. Waste and Recycling Services has partnered with the Calgary Fire Department to sponsor community drop-off locations for household hazardous waste. Calgary residents can take items to fire department locations or various “Throw ‘No Go” areas at local landfills. Accepted items include antifreeze, car batteries, brake and transmission fluid, gasoline, rust inhibitors, solvents, used motor oil, paint, fire extinguishers, glues, cements, helium tanks, mercury thermometers, nail polish and remover, propane tanks, waterproofers, pesticides, fertilizers, bleach, ammonia, disinfectants, household cleaners, pool chemicals, asphalt, roof tar, paint thinners, wood preservatives and smoke detectors. All vehicle tires can be dropped off a the “Throw ‘N Go” area of city landfills free of charge.

More information

Visit the City of Calgary recycling website for more recycling program info.