Composting is another great way to help the environment and reduce household waste. Composting is a natural process of recycling organic material such as leaves and vegetable scraps into a rich soil amendment that gardeners fondly nickname Black Gold.
This process helps find a new purpose for food and yard waste, and keeps it out of local landfills. When food and yard waste is compacted in the landfill there’s no oxygen so it doesn’t turn into soil or anything good. In fact, it creates bad stuff like methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) and leachate (a liquid that seeps through the landfill picking up other contaminants).
Composting means that you are taking natural materials out of your garbage can and collecting them in an indoor or outdoor compost bin. This includes items like eggshells, fruits and vegetables, tea bags, grass clippings, dryer lint, etc.
Anyone can compost in their home. There are indoor and outdoor compost systems available for purchase, and there are compost programs available in most towns and cities across Alberta.
If you’re not sure where to start, we have taken the time to provide a quick overview of the compost options available in Calgary, Red Deer and Lethbridge below.
This fall marks a new green cart composting service starting in Calgary. The green carts, which are the same size as the blue and black bins, will be used for all food and yard waste including meat, bones, plate scrapings, tree branches and pet waste.
The City of Calgary started delivering the green carts to single-family homes in June and will have delivered to every single family home by the end of October.
The City of Calgary says the first two quadrants of the city to start the program (northwest and southwest) have already kept over 5,300,000 kilograms of food and yard waste out of city landfills by using their green carts, which exceeded their expectations. This is just in the first two months of the program.
Green and blue carts will be picked up every week on the same day. Black carts will be picked once every two weeks on a different day than the green and blue carts.
Free collection day reminders are available through the Calgary Garbage Day app, or by text, email, phone call or downloadable calendars. The reminders can be set up at calgary.ca/collection.
For more information about the green cart program, visit calgary.ca/greencart.
The City of Red Deer encourages residents to participate in backyard composting to reduce waste. Part of the offering to city residents is a “Composting at Home Program,” which teaches you how to compost successfully in your own backyard.
This program is offered free of charge for 200 households in the city each year. Participants are provided with a compost bin, aerating tool and kitchen catcher, plus training and ongoing support on how to compost.
The 2017 program is full. To be notified when registration opens for the 2018 program opens, add your name here.
The City of Lethbridge encourages residents to participate in backyard composting to reduce waste. Residents are able to buy a composter from the city for a reduced price of $48 by visiting the 4th floor of City Hall or calling 403-320-3076. You can pay directly for the composter, or you can put the charge on your utility account bill if you have your customer account number.
Composters can be picked up at any of the three Yard Waste Sites after payment. Sites are open 7 days a week, 7am to 7pm, between April 1 and November 30.