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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Green cart food and yard waste pilot starts

Table scraps and other compostable items can now get a second life in some Calgary communities, with the launch of The City's Green cart food and yard waste pilot.

Starting the week of March 5, residents in Abbeydale, Brentwood, Cougar Ridge and Southwood will be able to reduce their garbage by more than half by putting food and yard waste in the green cart. Instead of being buried in the landfill, these materials will be turned into valuable compost that can be used in farms, parks and gardens.

“Food and yard materials make up the two largest sources of our household waste - nearly 60 per cent,” said Paula Magdich, the Program Development Leader. “Like recycling, composting is the right thing to do."

The green cart accepts a broader range of food and yard waste compared to what can be put in backyard composters. In fact, all food can go in to the green cart including many items that cannot be composted at home, such as meat, bones, breads, dairy products, fish, cooked foods and paper plates.

Similar to the blue cart service, the green cart is designed to be easy and convenient for residents to use. Over the next two weeks, pilot residents will receive a green cart, a kitchen pail to collect food scraps in the home, compostable bags to line the kitchen pails and paper yard waste bags.  Residents can collect all of their food waste in the kitchen pail. Once full, residents can remove the compostable bag with the food waste and toss it into their green cart.

With the addition of weekly green cart service, the pilot will test black cart garbage collection once every two weeks, as very little household waste should remain after recyclables and compostables are removed. The City will continue to collect blue carts every week.

The collected food and yard waste will go to a commercial composting facility near Strathmore that can break down the materials in a few months. The final product is a nutrient-rich soil amendment that helps plants grow, prevents erosion, retains water, suppresses plant disease and blocks weeds.

Residents’ participation and experience will help formulate recommendations for a city-wide program when Waste & Recycling Services reports back to Council in March 2013.

For more information about the green cart food and yard waste pilot, visit or call 3-1-1.

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