Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tree debris hits 17 million kilograms and counting

The City of Calgary and residents have worked together to remove 23,219 loads of tree debris, weighing more than 17 million kilograms (17,000 tonnes) over the past three weeks. That would cover a football field about 20 metres deep.

As the volume continues to grow, so too does The City’s resolve to keep all tree debris out of the landfills. Large grinders are currently running full steam to mulch all the incoming debris. 

The mulch will take several months to dry thoroughly and then must be screened before it is ready for use next spring. If the debris weren’t mulched, the tree branches would take up valuable space in the landfills and produce unwanted greenhouse gases and leachate.

“We’re turning the destruction of this storm into something positive,” says Dave Griffiths, director of Waste & Recycling Services. “Our plan is to return the mulch next spring or summer to City parks and trails in communities where trees were damaged. Some of it may also be used in The City’s future green cart composting facility.”

80 per cent of communities cleared

Crews and equipment from Waste & Recycling Services, Parks, Roads, Water Services and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development continue to work seven days a week to clear communities of tree debris. They have completed debris pick-ups from the streets and back lanes of 182 Calgary communities to date. That’s 80 per cent of Calgary’s 227 communities.

Nico Bernard, manager of The City’s Tactical Operation Centre coordinating the cleanup says, “I am positive that we will be able to do one pass of all communities before the snow flies. This will allow our aerial and ground crews to more effectively address remaining tree hazards and speed up this effort.

No fees for tree debris until Nov. 9

If your community has yet to be cleared, check the map on to get an idea of when crews will be in your area. The map is updated daily. 

If you miss the cleanup crews, City landfills will continue to waive fees for debris until Nov. 9. As well, most leaf and pumpkin drop-off locations will continue to accept this type of waste until that date.

Read more about the tree cleanup in Calgary.

Submitted by Donna Bertrand, Tactical Operations Centre


  1. It would be nice if the city could offer some of this mulch for the public to use in their own yards, especially since they have so much of it.

    1. I agree, it would be a nice "recycle" program for sure! The city should sell some of this for a cheaper price, so that the citizens can use some as well as help the city pay for some of those expenses for turning the debris to mulch!

    2. Our plan is to return a lot of mulch to communities where trees were damaged by providing mulch for our City parks and trails next spring or summer.

      If you are looking for mulch, The City regularly mulches Christmas trees collected every year. This mulch is available for residential use at the East Calgary Landfill, free of charge while quantities last. Please note: the mulch is acidic and may not be good in flower beds.