Green Cart: one year and counting

The City of Calgary’s Green Cart Composting Program rolled out last summer to provide single-family homes with a city-wide food and yard waste collection service by fall 2017. One year and over 111 million kilograms later, the first year of the green cart composting program has seen remarkable milestones and achievements.

“It’s been one year since the city-wide launch and the Green Cart Program is performing better than expected,” said Laura Hamilton, Waste Diversion Specialist with Waste & Recycling Services. “Calgarians have been doing a great job and are really embracing the program. Composting is easy to do and it helps us turn your food and yard waste into something useful instead of sending it to the landfill.”

Calgarians have responded well to composting with over 30 per cent more material coming to the Calgary Composting Facility than originally forecasted. Food and yard waste put into the green cart is turned into nutrient-rich compost which goes to farms, landscape soil blenders, community gardens, and made available annually to Calgarians at compost giveaway events.

Composting by the numbers:

  • 111 million kilograms of food and yard waste collected
  • Over 325,000 single-family households provided with green carts
  • 46 per cent reduction in black cart garbage
  • 13,000 visits to the resident compost giveaways to pick up 1.5 million kilograms of compost
  • 86 per cent resident satisfaction with the Green Cart program

Calgarians are doing a good job and we need them to keep up the good work. Here are a few tips on how to use the green cart to participate effectively:

  • If using a kitchen pail liner, use only certified compostable bags. These bags are guaranteed to breakdown properly during the composting process.
  • When collecting yard waste this fall:
    • If your green cart is full, fill paper yard waste bags. Roll the tops of the bags closed to prevent spills and allow your collector to pick up the bags properly. Yard waste in plastic bags will not be collected.
    • Tie extra branches into bundles with natural fibre strings (e.g. cotton, twine, jute). Make sure branches are less than six inches in diameter and four feet in length.
  • Separate food and yard waste materials from packaging before putting in the green cart. For example, empty soil into the Green Cart and then recycle empty bedding pots in the blue cart or wipe out food scraps with a napkin to put in the Green cart and then recycle the tin can separately.

The City would like to thank Calgarians for taking part and getting the Green Cart program off to a great start. To learn more about green cart tips or to sign up for collection reminders, visit