Four communities in Calgary will be taking part in the residential food and yard waste pilot project expected next year.

Starting in March 2012, the pilot will include the communities of Abbeydale, Brentwood, Cougar Ridge, and Southwood.

Nearly 8,000 homes are expected to participate in the project that is aimed at testing the weekly collection of food and yard waste including the citizen feedback on the carts themselves.

In these areas, the project will also be picking up black garbage bags on a bi-weekly basis.

Waste & Recycling Services established several criteria and then consulted with the area aldermen in selecting the pilot communities

Ability to test front curb and back lane collection;

Communities with different volumes of yard waste – i.e., established neighborhoods with higher volumes of yard material (mature trees and vegetation) and newer communities with smaller volumes;

A mix of housing types – single family homes up to and including fourplexes;

Varied collection days;

Communities with no more than 2,000 homes each;

Whole communities to participate for ease of communication and education.

Dave Griffiths says food and yard waste makes up nearly 60 percent of residential garbage in landfills and garbage like that won't break down properly into compost in landfills.

"By composting food and yard waste, instead of sending it to the landfill, we can reduce waste and greenhouse gases, decrease our dependence on landfills and produce compost, a valuable product," said Griffiths.

The city has the following information about the project:

There will be no charge to pilot participants.

The green carts are about 120 liters – half the size of the blue and black carts we are now using.

In the pilot, residents will use the green carts for their compostable materials – including all fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, bones, food-soiled paper and dairy products – as well as yard waste. Residents will use the paper bags for any additional yard waste.

The green carts will be collected every week just like the blue carts for recycling.

Black cart garbage collection in the pilot communities will occur every other week since most of the material that decomposes and produces odours will be in the green carts.

Only two carts will be collected on the same day. The third one will be collected on a separate day during the same week. Waste & Recycling Services will test different combinations – blue and black carts on the same day or blue and green together.

Waste & Recycling Services will communicate with pilot community residents through a variety of ways including open houses, direct mail, instructional materials with the carts, community newsletters, educator visits, and The City website (

Feedback from participants will be collected throughout the pilot and Waste & Recycling Services will report back to Council by March 2013 with results of the pilot and recommendations for a city-wide program.