Friday, August 17, 2012

Calgarians reminded to lighten the garbage load

Summer is a heavy time of year for City of Calgary garbage collectors.  Calgarians can help keep them on schedule by filling their black carts first before putting out extra garbage bags and by keeping those bags under 20 kilograms (45 pounds) each.

Waste & Recycling Services collectors pick up more than 5,000 tonnes of garbage each week in the summer from black carts at about 300,000 Calgary homes using trucks equipped with mechanical arms.

“Each one-man truck serves more than 800 homes a day so every time the driver has to get out to collect bags outside the black cart it slows down collection for everyone,” said Christy Lyon, manager of Collection Services with Waste & Recycling Services. “If residents fill their black cart first before setting out extra bags it helps ensure everyone gets their garbage collected efficiently.”

If your black cart is full and another garbage bag will not easily fit inside, extra bags can be set 30 cm (one foot) away from the cart for collection. It is recommended you only use standard-sized garbage bags (66 cm x 91 cm) that weigh less than 20 kilograms (44 pounds) each when filled.

“Overweight and oversize bags are potential safety risks to collectors as they can be hard to handle,” said Lyon. “If bags are overloaded our collectors could be injured. If you can easily lift the bag with one hand, it should be okay.”

Most of the extra waste in the summer months is yard waste, particularly grass clippings, which can get heavy. Yard waste can go in your black cart so if there is space put the bags in.

One way you can reduce your waste is by grasscycling (or mulching) instead of bagging the clippings. Leaving grass clippings on your lawn provides free nutrients to the lawn as the clippings decompose naturally while also saving you time and effort.

Keeping grass out of the landfills is also a good thing as it saves space and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Oxygen is required for organic materials to break down naturally. Landfills have very little air as the waste is continuously compacted and covered. Yard waste in the landfill decomposes slowly over a long period of time releasing greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

For more information on preparing your garbage for collection, visit and search “black cart”.

Five Easy Garbage Collection Tips   

  • Fill your black cart before you put out extra garbage bags alongside.
  • Use standard-sized garbage bags (66 cm x 91 cm) and keep them under 20 kilograms (44 pounds) each.
  • Put yard waste such as bagged grass clippings in your black cart or leave clippings on the lawn. 
  • Put your cart out by 7 a.m. on collection day and bring it back to your property after collection.
  • Leave enough room to walk between your carts and keep them away from cars and fences on collection day. 

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