Calgary Commercial Recycling

Office Recycling Calgary

Office Recycling

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Recycling at work always seems to be less of a priority than recycling at home. It’s unfortunate because most people who work in an office spend half of their day there. Offices are big consumers of paper and paper products. Much of the paper used for printing is discarded within the same day. No one wants to hurt the environment, but sometimes during our busy days it is hard to think about the impact we are having. Here are some ideas to help take your office recycling to the next level:

Office Recycling Team

Assemble A Team

Get some green-thinking colleagues together and take on the challenge as a team. You will have a broader perspective and be able to implement a more practical program. Don’t leave it all to one person.

Waste Audit

Get To Know Your Waste

By the end of this year all Calgary offices will be required to divide waste into three sections: mixed recycling, organic waste, and garbage. Knowing how much you produce of each will help determine how to collect and store your waste. A waste audit will help you know what you are producing and how effective your current program is. You can dig around in the garbage, or hire a professional, to divide a day’s worth of waste into the three categories.

Office Recycling Traffic

Map Out Office Traffic

Consider where waste is being produced and identify optimal collection points based on office traffic patterns.

Office Recycling Bin

Make It Personal

Some offices have had good experiences with a centralized program that requires each employee to collect waste at their own desk in a designated bin and then deposit it at a centralized location. Employees become accountable at the individual level and are motivated to participate.

Office Communication

A Big Focus On Communication

Let everyone know about the program, and then let them know again. Education is a crucial element to the success of any waste management program. Make sure employees are aware of what can be recycled and what is considered organic waste. Use signage to encourage recycling and to identify recycling bin locations.

Calgary Commercial Recycling

Commercial Recycling Recap

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November 1st is just around the corner and the Calgary Commercial Recycling Bylaw will be in effect. We want to make sure that everyone is prepared, so here is a recap of the bylaw requirements:

Who Is Affected?

Hospital Recycling


School Recycling


Office Recycling


Store Recycling


Restaurant Recycling


Hotel Recycling


Manufacturer Recycling


Factory Recycling


Church Recycling

Places Of Worship

Warehouse Recycling


Other Operations Recycling

Other Operations

How To Comply

Organizations will have to collect and store the following items separately from their waste and make sure they are taken to a recycling facility:


  • Newspaper
  • Catalogs & Magazines
  • Mixed Paper
  • Shredded Paper
  • Telephone Books
  • Boxboard & Corrugated Cardboard
  • Glass Jars & Bottles
  • Food Cans & Foil
  • Refundable Beverage Containers
  • Plastic Containers With Recycling Symbols 1 – 7
  • Juice & Soup Boxes
  • Scrap Metal
    • Wires
    • Fixtures & Fittings
    • Sheeting
    • Automotive Parts
    • Metal Plumbing & Racks
  • Wood
    • Dimensional Lumber
    • Wooden Pallets
  • Clear Plastic Film
    • Film Wrap
    • Shrink Wrap
    • Stretch Wrap

Bylaw Enforcement

The City of Calgary has said that their first step for dealing with bylaw infractions will be working with the organization to help them become bylaw compliant. Extended non-compliance will lead to a fine for the business or organization.

Who You Gonna Call?

Little Big Recycling offers customized solutions for any situation. We are a Green Calgary verified hauler and our processes are fully compliant with the Calgary Commercial Recycling Bylaw. Let us know what you are looking for or get in touch with us for an on-site assessment.


The City of Calgary

Gruman's Catering and Delicatessen

Is 100% Waste Diversion Really Possible?

By | Calgary Commercial Recycling, Recycling Super Heroes | No Comments

At first the idea of diverting 100% of waste may sound like a quest for the Holy Grail, but with some planning and enthusiasm it is a real possibility. We talked with Judy Rafuse, a true recycling superstar, from Grumans Catering and Delicatessen about what they have done to become 100% recyclable. It comes down to three main principles. Check out how they’ve taken their recycling to the next level:

Use Recyclable Materials

What is a recycling program without recyclable materials? In most cases non-recyclable materials can be substituted for something that can be recycled. This is where some of the planning comes in. Gruman’s uses 100% recyclable materials including the following:

  • Food Containers (Plates, Clamshells, Soup Bowls & Lids, Boxes)
  • Cutlery
  • Straws
  • Portion Cups/Lids
  • Take-Home Deli Containers & Lids
  • Napkins/Paper Towels
  • Foil Roasters
  • Paper Bags
  • Compostable Garbage Bags
  • Aluminum Foil


Collecting The Recyclables

When looking at collection it is important to establish an ideal location for recycling bins. There should be enough bins to keep up with the needs of the organization. There are also different bins for different types of materials. Gruman’s created separate bins for mixed recycling, organic materials, and other waste.


When we asked Judy what makes Gruman’s 100% recyclable this is what she had to say:

“The biggest part is education.  Recycling is seen as a secondary duty in most businesses and is usually avoided based on time and expense because of the initial product/program investment and ensuring items are properly cleaned and sorted.  We believe in simplifying the process, by initially having all recyclable materials and bins available on site.  With proper education and a system in place, the recycling effort becomes easier for all staff.  If you make it easy for the staff, they will be onboard with the program.  It starts at the top.”

We agree with Judy 100%. A recycling program is most effective when everyone within an organization is onboard. Making everyone aware of the program is a must. Some enthusiasm and a little effort to spread the word will have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your program.

Follow The Leader

Gruman’s Catering and Delicatessen is 100% recyclable at their Symons Valley Ranch location and within their catering division. They are also well on their way to 100% recyclable at their restaurant in downtown Calgary. Way to go Judy and Gruman’s for proving that it can be done!

Symons Valley Ranch

Symons Valley Ranch

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Symons Valley Ranch

The work we are doing with the Symons Valley Farmers Market has been very exciting. Here is a business that is on track to divert 85% of their waste from the landfills by the end of the year. If that isn’t enough, they will also be saving over $10,000 each year (that is enough to buy like… 12 iPads) with some simple changes to their waste management programs. Here is how it all started:

The Waste Audit

We love what we do so much that we are willing to dig through your garbage to find little treasures that can be recycled instead of sent to the landfills. We call it a “waste audit”. For Symons Valley Ranch we sorted through an entire day’s worth of garbage and set aside everything that could be recycled. We found that 38% of waste was being recycled… not bad. We also found that there was potential to recycle up to 88% of their waste. Wow, who knew so much could be recycled (we secretly knew the whole time)? Here are the results of their waste audit:

  • Mixed Recycling Items Found= 58%
  • Organic Material Found = 30%
  • Actual Garbage Found = 12%
Waste Audit

Tracey, the garbage expert!

Setting Goals

With a better idea of their potential to reduce waste, the Farmer’s Market set some serious goals. By summer 2016 the goal is to recycle 75% of waste (huge recycling skills!). The goal for the end of the year is to be recycling 85% of waste (recycling super-heroes!). A customized program with mixed recycling and organic waste bins was initiated to help each piece of waste end up in the right place. They are well on their way to achieving their goals!

Cost Savings

Before March, 2016 Symons Valley Farmers Market was spending about $2,500 each month on garbage and cardboard removal. With a full-service recycling program in place their garbage removal expenses dropped to $1,000. The cost of the recycling program is roughly $600, which means that they are already saving somewhere around $900 each month. That is where the annual savings of $10,000 is coming from (enough to buy a Nissan Micra…).

Environment Savings

One of the technical key-indicator terms in the recycling industry is “Waste Diversion Rate”. It is the percentage of waste that is being recycled and “diverted” away from the landfills. The Farmers Market started at 38% and is well on their way to 75% by summertime and 85% by the end of the year. They have taken control of their environmental impact to become recycling super-heroes. Awesome job guys!

Calgary Recycling Bylaws

Calgary Recycling Bylaws

By | Calgary Commercial Recycling | No Comments


Both multi-family residential and commercial buildings in Calgary are facing new city bylaws requiring that recycling programs be in place. The multi-family recycling bylaw came into effect on February 1, 2016. The commercial recycling bylaw will come into effect on November 1, 2016. Both have specific directives to help ensure that the recycling programs are effective.


The Calgary Multi-Family Recycling Bylaw applies to apartment buildings, condominium buildings and complexes, townhouses, and any other residential building or development with at least five units. There is a lot of flexibility for residential buildings in how they implement a program. The only requirements are that recyclables must be collected and stored on site and that they must be taken to a recycling facility at some point. Each building is free to manage their own program or use a service that complies with the bylaws.


The directives for businesses and organizations are very similar. They must collect and store recyclable material separate from ordinary waste that is generated by customers and employees. The recyclables must be taken to a recycling facility. Organizations that will be effected by this bylaw include schools, offices, stores, restaurants, churches, industrial, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities. For a full list of who is included check out the Recycling Bylaw Requirements published by The City of Calgary.


The City of Calgary has said that an educational approach will be taken in enforcing these bylaws. Information will be provided to help buildings comply, but in the end a fine could be issued. Here are some tips to help your building comply with the bylaws and have an effective recycling program:

  1. Determine a good collection point. This will be an easily accessible location that makes sense to your residents or employees.
  2. Balance storage capacity with pick-up frequency. Choose the appropriate number and right size of bins based on how frequent the pick-ups will be. More bins often require less pick-ups, and vise versa. If space is limited then frequent pick-ups with small bins or totes may be preferable.
  3. Notify your residents & employees. Make sure everyone knows about the program and what is accepted.
  4. Make sure collected recyclables end up at a recycling center. Confirm with you service provider that they are going to the right place.
  5. Monitor the recycling program and make adjustments to reflect actual usage. As the program catches on maybe more bins will be required. You may be able to reduce garbage waste needs if enough is being recycled.