Calgary, AB,

Tips for a green Christmas from The City of Calgary

The holiday season brings gifts, good cheer and plenty of items to compost and recycle. The City of Calgary is encouraging Calgarians to make it a green Christmas.

“Many of us produce extra waste at this time of year,” says Philippa Wagner, Green Cart Implementation Leader with Waste & Recycling Services. “In addition to recycling, it’s now easier than ever to keep a lot of this material out of our landfills by using your green cart.”

Don’t let those real Christmas trees go to waste

Composting Christmas trees keeps waste out of landfills and reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions. There are two ways Calgarians can compost real trees this year:

Use your green cart

After removing all lights, ornaments, tinsel and string, follow the same steps as you would for branches from your yard:

  • Cut your tree into pieces (no more than four feet long), put them into your green cart and make sure the lid can close.
  • If your green cart is full, tie extra branches together with a natural fibre string or place them in paper yard waste bags.
  • Set tied branches or yard waste bags at least one foot from the side of your green cart.

Trees that are not prepared this way will not be collected.

Use a drop-off location

Whole trees can be dropped off at 16 temporary drop-off locations across Calgary between Dec. 26 and Jan. 31. Do not wrap, tie or bag your tree, and remember to remove tree stands and all lights, ornaments, tinsel and string.

For a full list of drop-off locations visit

Compost your holiday food waste

Use the green cart to compost such items as:

  • Turkey carcasses and other bones.
  • Pastries, cookies, cakes and muffins.
  • Plate scrapings and vegetable scraps.
  • All food-soiled paper, including napkins, paper plates, coffee filters, baking paper and liners.
  • Cooking oil, lard, shortening, jam, butter, sauces, grease, dips, salad dressing, mayonnaise and gravy.

Recycle wrapping paper, boxes and other holiday items

“The gift giving season means a lot of gift wrap, boxes and other materials that can be recycled,” says Wagner. “You can put many of these items in your blue cart or take them to a community recycling depot.”

The following items should go loose into your blue cart:

  • Wrapping paper and tissue paper – A little tape is ok.
  • Cardboard boxes, gift boxes, shoe and shipping boxes – Flatten your boxes to make extra room in your blue cart.
  • Paper gift bags – Remove the handles before recycling.
  • Holiday cards and envelopes
  • Moulded plastic packaging with recycling symbol #1-7 (not including polystyrene foam, which should go in your black cart)
  • Bubble wrap – Bundle inside a clear plastic bag and tie the handles closed.
  • Cookie and chocolate tins – Eat the cookies and chocolates first.

When in doubt, check it out with What Goes Where

If you’re not sure where to put an item this holiday season, check out The City’s What Goes Where Tool at