The City welcomes innovative food rescue and food waste diversion pilot for Calgary businesses and organizations

The City of Calgary will host the Circular Innovation Council’s latest food rescue and food waste diversion pilot program aimed at the institutional, commercial and industrial (ICI) sector. The pilot, slated to begin in early 2023, follows the Circular Innovation Council’s internationally recognized pilot project in Ontario’s Guelph-Wellington County. The Calgary pilot seeks to improve waste collection efficiency while creating an innovative solution for food waste that delivers social, environmental, as well as economic impacts.  

The City is hosting the pilot to understand how the consolidated collection model may help it meet its waste diversion and climate change objectives. The pilot aims to improve the affordability of food waste collection, reduce disposal costs and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and connect businesses to charitable agencies that can redistribute “rescued” fresh food that might otherwise be wasted.

“We know that affordability is one of the barriers limiting organics diversion for businesses and organizations,” said Kayley Fesko, Waste Diversion Specialist with The City’s Waste & Recycling Services. “This pilot has shown promising results in other jurisdictions, showing that businesses and communities can work cooperatively to not only reduce the cost and environmental impacts of food waste, but also improve food access for community agencies and families”

Pioneered by the Circular Innovation Council, the first-of-its-kind collective initiative in Calgary targets the ICI sector—Canada’s largest generator of food waste.

The Circular Innovation Council will work with local collection and processing partners to help build the program, as well as private sector sponsors looking to support cost-effective food waste solutions and improved organics data collection. Businesses and institutions generating food waste are also invited to participate in this unique co-operative cost-sharing and data-driven business model to reduce their carbon footprint.

The expansion of this pilot project to Calgary is made possible thanks to recent funding awarded by the Alberta Ecotrust Foundation’s Environmental Impact Grant Program, as well as funding received earlier this year through the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Food Waste Reduction Challenge.

This pilot expansion comes at a time when innovation in food waste reduction is more critical than ever. In a 2019 waste composition study, food waste made up 43 per cent of garbage bin waste for the Accommodation and Food Services sub-sector In Calgary. There is a great opportunity before us to help redistribute fresh food to local charitable organizations and divert food waste from the landfill.

For more information about the pilot, visit Businesses and organizations can find more information about City of Calgary programs here: Waste diversion for businesses and organizations (