Across Calgary, residential waste collection includes a black bin for trash bound for the landfill, and a blue bin to keep recyclable materials in circulation. With new green carts coming sometime in mid-2017, the city will keep even more material out of the landfill, while also keeping some nasty gases out of the atmosphere.

The program ran as a pilot in the Abbeydale, Brentwood, Cougar Ridge and Southwood neighbourhoods since 2012.

In an interview, Southwood resident Anne Logan said she is happy to get some of her family’s waste out of the black bin and into the green. “I’ve seen the amount of garbage that we produce since we’ve had a child go up exponentially and I always feel guilty seeing how much that we’re filling our black bin with diapers,” she said.

On its green cart website, the city writes that the pilot reduced garbage from participating neighbourhoods by nearly half. Soil scientist Mathew Swallow at Mount Royal University said this drop would stretch the life of existing landfills. “That’s one big advantage [of composting], especially for the city, because it costs a lot to open new landfills, and it’s getting harder and harder to find suitable sites for landfills,” he said.

Not only that, but composting can help the city reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A new facility under construction at the Shepard Landfill will use a controlled environment in vessels to produce compost that can be used in agriculture, offsetting emissions from producing synthetic fertilizer.

And the process also affects greenhouse warming more directly. Our reporter Laura Stewart follows the carbon through the compost cycle.

Calgary Green Carts at a Glance

· Quadrant by quadrant rollout later this year

· All single-family households included

· No opt-out allowed

· $6.50 per month fee starts January 2018

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The editor responsible for this article is Aysha Zafar and can be reached at

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