How does waste collection work in Calgary?

Image courtesy of City of Calgary News Blog

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All private homes (and some apartment and condo buildings) in Calgary are given black, blue, and green bins for waste collection.

From left to right: garbage, recycling, and compost bins.

How does waste collection work in Calgary?


The City of Calgary is responsible for picking up and emptying waste collection bins once every 1-2 weeks. Every neighbourhood is assigned a certain day of the week where this will happen. You must place your bins at least 60 cm apart, before 7 am on the day they will be emptied.


Black, blue, and green bins will stay either in your back lane or near your garage or parking space. It is your responsibility as an owner or tenant of the house to make sure your bins are in good condition.

Black Bin: Garbage

Your black bin is the place where you throw away garbage. These are household items you don’t want that cannot be recycled (blue bin) or composted (green bin). Your black bin can hold up to 4 regular filled garbage bags. If your cart is full and you cannot close the lid, you can set extra garbage bags 60 cm to the side of your bin for collection.

To read tips on how to take care of and place your black bin for easy pickup, click here.

Blue Bin: Recycling

Blue bins are the place where you put items that can be recycled. Recycling some of your waste keeps our landfills from filling up too quickly and makes for a greener planet. To use your blue bin, put your recyclable items directly in the bin (without putting them in a bag first). If the item previously held food or other liquid waste, rinse the container out first.

What can go in my blue bin?

According to the City of Calgary, you can put these items in your blue bin:

  • Paper and cardboard
  • Plastic jugs and bottles
  • Bags, packaging and food containers
  • Food cans and foil
  • Glass jars and bottles

For more information on the Blue Bin, visit here. A PDF guide on what can and can’t be recycled can be found here.

Green Bin: Compost

Your green bin is the container that collects food waste and scraps from your home. Putting food waste into the green bin prevents it from going to the landfill, where it is difficult for the food to decompose. The waste instead gets sent to Calgary’s composting facility, where it is turned into recyclable and earth-friendly organic matter. To find out how to use your green bin, click here.

For a list of foods and materials that you can put in your green bin, click here. A poster version can be found here.

Click here to learn more about how the City’s Green Cart program works.

To find out what day your garbage and recycling pickup will take place, use this tool.

Finally, if you are confused about what you should do with an item you want to get rid of, and don’t know whether it goes in the black, blue, or green bin, you can use the City’s online tool to find out What Goes Where.


CIES Guides are a volunteer-led project made possible through contributions from the community.

Thanks to Whitney Loewen for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.

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