Calgary Condominium Food & Yard Waste

Condominium Food & Yard Waste FAQ

By | Calgary Recycling, Condominiums, Organics | No Comments

What Condominium Managers, Boards Of Directors & Residents Are All Asking

In preparation for the multi-family food and yard waste bylaws that will take effect on November 1, 2017 we have gathered our most commonly asked questions. We hope that these will help as you plan a program for your building and make your final preparations.

Calgary Food And Yard Waste | Little Big Recycling

What counts as “food and yard waste”?

Food and yard waste is also commonly referred to as organic waste. It includes anything that can be eaten, and anything that grows in nature. Food waste can be cooked or raw, and can include meat bones of any kind. Spoiled and stale foods can also be included. Yard waste includes leaves, branches, weeds, and grass clippings. For a complete list of what goes where refer to our guide: “What Can I Recycle?”

Calgary Food & Yard Waste Bylaws | Little Big Recycling

What are the actual bylaw requirements?

All multi-family buildings must provide on-site collection and storage of food and yard waste. Buildings must be equipped with enough containers to manage the volume of food and yard waste between collection days. All food and yard waste must be collected for composting or be diverted in some other way. All residents must be informed of the program and appropriate signage must be in place.

Property Manager | Little Big Recycling

Who is responsible for initiating and maintaining this program?

Building owners are responsible to ensure that their properties have a bylaw compliant program. In condominiums, the owners form a corporation represented by the Board of Directors. The corporation is ultimately responsible. In cases where there is a condominium or property manager the responsibility is often delegated to them.

Food And Yard Waste Collection

Who will collect the food and yard waste for composting?

This is where companies like Little Big Recycling come in. Owners and managers can work with a collection company or they can haul their own food and yard waste to an appropriate processing facility.

Excluded Yard Waste Items

Is yard waste accepted by all collection companies?

No. Not all programs allow yard waste to be mixed with other organic waste. This includes leaves, plants, weeds, branches, prunings, grass clippings, sod, and animal feces. There is usually no conflict as these items are handled and disposed of by the grounds maintenance service providers.

Under Sink Food Waste

How can residents manage their individual food waste?

The most effective way to manage the food waste from residents is to provide under-sink collection containers and bio-degradable bags to each apartment or suite. These are small plastic containers that can easily be put out of sight until needed. The biodegradable bags act as a liner and can be brought to the central collection point by each resident at their convenience.

Calgary Waste Diversion

What percentage of our current waste will be diverted as food and yard waste?

In 2014 The City of Calgary Waste & Recycling Services studied the composition of Calgary household waste. They found that 36% of household waste was organic food waste. This study applies to single-family homes, but the outcomes would be similar. We use 1/3 as a rule of thumb. More accurate information for your specific building can be obtained through a Waste Audit.

Calgary Waste Program Cost

How much does a food and yard waste program cost?

Prices will vary depending on the number of commercial and residential suites within your building. Contact us for a quote. There are significant savings that can be realized by combining all waste management services with one collection company.


Food Waste Smell

Does food and yard waste smell bad?

Yes. Food and yard waste will begin to rot and decompose over time, which causes an unfavorable stench. The good news is that this smell is no different than the one that you are already experiencing with your regular waste collection (because that is where the organic waste is currently going). Some buildings choose to separate their collection locations with the food and yard wastes outside the building.

Resident Information

How do we inform residents of the program and educate them on best practices.

This is another area where Little Big Recycling can help. We prepare a letter that can be delivered or emailed to each resident. They will be informed of the start dates, collection locations, and acceptable materials. When under-sink collection containers are provided to residents there should be additional instruction. A townhall meeting or information session where all owners are invited to attend is a great way to prepare the residents and address any specific concerns. The city requires that annual reminders be sent out to all residents and that appropriate signage be in place. Signage should include a description of what is accepted in each bin.

Recycling Bylaw Fines

What happens if a multi-family building does not comply with the bylaws?

The City of Calgary has indicated that their first step will be to work with building owners or managers to help them become compliant. Ultimately, the City can impose a fine for continued non-compliance.

Still Have Questions?

Send us your question and we will get back to you in no time!

Organic Recycling

The “Other” Recycling

By | Calgary Recycling, Organics | No Comments

Recycling Skills

So we all know about mixed recycling… the magic Blue Bins that take our metals, plastics, glass and paper products to a happier place where they are eventually given new life. Calgary has a city-wide program supporting mixed recycling which makes it easy for each household to join in the fun. Condominiums and Commercial buildings are mandated to have similar programs, significantly increasing the popularity of mixed recycling. A mixed recycling program is a great way to divert waste from the landfills, but some of you may be wondering if there is more that can be done. Some of you have been in the recycling game for a long time and are now very skilled at rinsing your plastics, removing bottle lids, and organizing everything into segregated compartments. You have gained enough XP (“experience points”… for the old people reading this) to become proficient with mixed recycling, and are ready to take the next step toward becoming an all around recycling expert. Introducing the “Other” recycling!! ..or more commonly called “organics” recycling.

What Are Organics?

Organic waste can be anything that is derived from living material. This includes both plant and animal byproducts, which covers all of the following:

  • Any food item, cooked, raw, or waste
  • Yard waste like leaves and grass
  • Pet waste including fur and kitty litter
  • Other products like Popsicle sticks, cotton balls, Kleenex, etc…

This short list doesn’t sound like much, but it makes up over half of household waste. Can you imagine the impact on the landfills if over half of house-hold waste disappeared?!

How does it work?

Organic recycling programs will take all of this and turn it into usable compost material for gardeners or farmers. This involves taking the waste and heaping it up into giant piles that are constantly mixed. Some wood chips and hay are added to increase the nitrogen and carbon levels. Let the mico-organisms feast on it for a few months and bada-bing bada-boom, you have some nutrient rich compost. Imagine how many potatoes Matt Damon could have grown on Mars if he had some some of this (this is a pop-culture reference to the 2015 film “The Martian”).

Organic Recycling in Calgary

The City of Calgary started with a Green Cart pilot program for organic recycling in the communities of Abbeydale, Brentwood, Cougar Ridge, and Southwood. In May, 2017 the City will expand the program to all single family homes. As of November 1, 2017 all commercial buildings and multi-family residential buildings will be required to have an organics recycling program in place. There are plenty of opportunities to save the environment and reduce garbage disposal expenses with a fine-tuned program. Symons Valley Ranch is a great example of a fine-tuned program.

Level Up

So you think you’ve got what it takes? Step it up a notch with organics recycling and become a recycling super-hero.