Tips for using your green composting bins

This summer, the City of Calgary officially rolled out its composting program for single-family residential homes in our city, with green bins being delivered throughout the city. Whether you’ve already received your green bin, or are patiently awaiting its arrival, we’re sharing what you need to know for successful City composting.

What will you receive? 
Households will received everything they need to get started with the composting program, including:

  • A green cart (the same size as the blue and black ones)
  • Kitchen pail for collecting the food scraps inside the home to be dumped in the green bin. These are smaller, and you can purchase extra ones at Home Depot or use ice cream pails, etc.
  • Instruction guide on how to use the bins
  • Small supply of compostable bags to get you started
  • Small supply of paper yard waste bags to get you started

When does collection start?
For residents in southwest, northwest and northeast Calgary, green cart collection has already Begun. The remaining southeast quadrant will begin collection in the week of October 2, 2017. Always fill your green bin first, because green carts will be picked up every week, blue carts will be picked up every week but black garbage carts will be picked up every two weeks. For your specific collection schedule, check the City of Calgary website here.
What goes in the green bin? 
You can put all food, yard and pet waste in your green cart! That includes all your food, including oils, eggshells, meat and bones. Food soiled paper like coffee grounds or paper plates and paper towels, can also go in the bin. Yard waste includes things like cones, branches, weeds and sod. Pet waste includes dog waste, kitty litter, animal bedding, pet food and hair or feathers. In addition, you can add cold barbecue or fire pit ashes, untreated lumber, wood shavings or popsicle sticks, toothpicks and chopsticks. For a complete list of everything that can go in your green bin, see the City of Calgary website here.
Why composting? 

Green carts have proven to help residents cut their garbage nearly in half in the pilot communities. On a city-wide basis, that would translate into over 85 million kilograms of food and yard waste kept out of our landfills every year. By using your green cart, you will:

  • Create nutrient-rich compost
  • Protect our land, air and water resources
  • Keep material out of landfills to avoid future landfill costs

Watch ​a video for a more in-depth look at the benefits of composting versus burying food and yard waste in the landfill.​​​​​​​​​​​ [City of Calgary]

What happens to finished compost? 
Most of the compost will be sold in bulk to companies, with the proceeds going to help reduce and lower the green cart program fee. However, a portion of the compost will be made available to the community for free, including to support community gardens and at select giveaway days for the public which start in 2018.