New year, new carts

Edmonton is rolling out a new waste collection system. Here’s what you need to know.

New Year’s is long gone but some Edmontonians may soon be making a new resolution—to spend a little more time with their trash.

The City is rolling out a new waste cart system as part of its 25 Year Waste Strategy, which aims to divert 90 percent of residential waste from landfill. The new cart rollout will involve separating trash into three streams: organic waste, garbage, and recycling.

As of 2018, Edmontonians diverted only 36 percent of their waste from landfill. The new system will help change that, Jodi Goebel said, Director of Waste Strategy at the City of Edmonton. “It’s the first big step in our journey to our zero-waste future. Sorting waste at home and using carts helps us better divide the materials that Edmontonians are sorting; it’s easier and more efficient to process. It also allows for safer waste collection, and all of that together helps us keep utility rates stable.”

WHAT’S CHANGING?

The biggest change on the road to zero-waste is that residents with new carts will be required to sort out food scraps from their garbage. Edmontonians could choose between a small (120 litre) or large (240 litre) cart but had to submit requests by mid-February. The default size is large. You can put in a request online to swap cart sizes after you’ve received your first one. Switching sizes one time is free but if you change your mind again, it will cost you.

Garbage will be collected every two weeks year-round, while food scraps will be picked up weekly from spring to fall, and every two weeks in winter. The recycling schedule will stay the same.

WHO GETS THE NEW CARTS?

Anyone who lives in a single unit or certain multi-unit homes can expect to receive a new garbage cart, a food scraps cart, and a food scraps pail between March and August 2021. Twenty-two thousand multi-home units will be included in the new cart rollout, Goebel said. Residents in Oliver and Downtown who live in a building that qualifies will receive their new carts throughout July and the new collection system will begin the week of August 3.

Other multi-unit residences, such as highrises and apartment buildings, will be part of a different program, which is still in the works. “The intent is that we will do a similar staged implementation that would begin in 2023 and may take a couple of years,” Goebel said. “The variety with multi-unit sites is enormous and it’s quite a bit more complex than the single-unit sector that we serve, so we know that we’re going to be learning as we go.”

TRASH YOUR COMPLAINTS

The Edmonton Cart Rollout isn’t optional—it’s part of life in the city now. Gradually, Edmonton’s 400,000 households will shift to this new model.

If you’re unsure if you will receive new carts, visit Edmonton.ca and put in your address. It will tell you if and when you can expect your new carts. Residents are encouraged to check out Edmonton.ca/waste or call 311 if they have questions.