Greener Living

Why is the Green Cart program needed?

  • A Green Cart Program to collect and compost residential food and yard waste is necessary because more than half of what’s in our household garbage is compostable material.
  • Food and yard waste doesn’t break down into soil when it’s buried in the landfill. Not only is it taking up valuable space, but it’s also releasing methane, a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
  • In April 2016, The City surveyed single-family households and found 89% support the implementation of the Green Cart Program and 87% agree that The City should do more to reduce the amount of household waste going to landfills.
  • A great video is available that explains why the Green Cart program is needed and the costs of continuing to landfill this material instead.

When will service begin?

  • Green cart delivery will begin in spring 2017. We anticipate all eligible homes will have Green Cart service by fall 2017.

Who’s eligible?

  • All single-family homes (up to and including fourplexes) who have blue and black cart service will receive a green cart.

Is the Green Cart Program mandatory?

  • Every home that is eligible will receive a green cart and will pay for the service. Residents cannot opt out.
  • To see a significant reduction in food and yard waste going to the landfill and to make it affordable for all residents, it needs to be a universal program; everyone needs to take part.

How much is the full program cost?

  • The annual operating cost of the Green Cart Program will be $31M (2018); this includes the $10M saved by changing black cart collection from weekly to once every two weeks.

How much will residents pay for the service and what does it cover?

  • The rate will be $6.50 per household per month and is based on what it costs The City to operate a residential green cart food and yard waste program. This includes weekly green cart collection, building and operating the composting facility, buying green carts, education and marketing of the final compost product.
  • The monthly fee also incorporates the savings from changing Black Cart collection from weekly to once every two weeks.

What will happen to the revenue generated from the sale of the compost?

  • All of the money that The City receives from the sale of the finished compost is reinvested back into the Green Cart program. The $6.50 fee already reflects the reduction from the sale of compost.

What happens to the revenue collected from the Blue Cart Program?

  • The Blue Cart Recycling program costs are covered by two funding streams. The monthly fee paid by residents receiving the service covers the majority of the program costs, and the revenue from the sale of recyclables covers the remainder.

If garbage service is reduced, why isn’t my Black Cart fee (waste management charge) reduced as well?

  • The waste management charge that appears on utility bills is only for the management of The City’s landfills. It doesn’t not account for the collection of garbage.
  • The money that The City will save by changing Black Cart garbage collection to once every two weeks will be reinvested back into the Green Cart Program.

Why are we reducing Black Cart garbage collection?

  • When The City has studied what’s left in our garbage, we’ve found that more than half of residential waste is compostable food and yard waste.
  • In our pilot, reducing how frequently garbage is collected has proven to be one of the most effective strategies for increasing recycling and composting by encouraging residents to rethink their waste habits.
  • This strategy has reduced the amount of household garbage by 40 per cent in pilot communities.

I’m already backyard composting at home. Why do I need a Green Cart?

  • We encourage residents who are already backyard composting at home to keep it up.
  • The green cart can be used alongside your backyard composter because it accepts a lot more materials. The green cart accepts all food, yard and pet waste.
  • Green carts are also useful because they accept an unlimited amount of material. When your composter is full, you can use your green cart and paper yard waste bags for any extra food and yard waste.

I don’t have room to store another cart!

  • We piloted green carts in four different communities, which included a mix of front and back lane collection and different styles of houses. We found residents adapted well to three carts and found storage solutions that worked best for them.
  • To ease space limitations on collection days, no more than two carts will be out for collection on the same day.
  • Green and blue carts will be collected weekly on the same day.
  • Black carts will be collected once every two weeks on a separate day.

To learn more, please click to view the  Green Cart Rate Presentation.