Cart rollout delivers to more than 250,000 Edmonton households in six months

It’s been a months-long, city-wide, organic effort, but the City of Edmonton’s Cart Rollout is now mission accomplished. 

Thank you to everyone who has helped lift this vital program off the ground. 

“It’s been amazing to see Edmontonians meeting this change with enthusiasm and a desire to learn,” said Chris Fowler, who is the Director of Waste Strategy at the City of Edmonton. 

“The best method for keeping organics and recyclables out of the landfill starts at home,” said Fowler. “While the City can divert some contaminated materials, we’ll never be as effective as everyone sorting together.” 

Doing it right. Residents leave space between blue bags, food scraps cart and garbage cart for collectors to efficiently do their work.

Good news for environment 

The first carts were delivered in March in the Menisa neighbourhood. On September 3, 2021,  the final carts were dropped off in the Britannia Youngstown neighbourhood. That means more than a quarter million homes in Edmonton now have black and green carts, and the handy kitchen pail, to sort and separate household waste. 

Modernizing the waste system is good news for the community, and good news for the environment. 

Keeping food scraps out of general household garbage means that they can be made into useful compost rather than end up in the landfill where they contribute to greenhouse gases.

Green pails are doing sorting duty in kitchens across the city.

The City has a plan to achieve a 90 per cent diversion rate. That means that 90 per cent of the household waste people generate will be reused or recycled rather than sent to a landfill. 

Accomplishing the 90-per-cent rate is part of the City’s 25-year Waste Strategy.

Helpful tips for the big sort

With the carts now in action, Edmontonians are eager to up their sorting game, especially with three items: plastic bags, pizza boxes and grass clippings. 

Here’s what you need to know.

Plastic bags. Can you use your hands to stretch the bag? If you can, the bag can be recycled. So, items like grocery bags are recyclable while bags that don’t stretch (like the bags that come inside cereal boxes or the ones used for pre-washed salad, for example) should go in the garbage.

Pizza boxes. Yes, pizza boxes can be recycled, even if they have a bit of grease on them. If any area is particularly greasy, cut it out with scissors and recycle the rest of the box.

Grass clippings. Going bagless and leaving grass clippings on your lawn is still the best option, for the landfill and the lawn. However, you may top up your food scraps cart with grass clippings or put them out in clear plastic or paper bags during your two fall yard waste collection days.

(On these days, you can put out as much yard waste as you need to, using clear plastic or paper bags. There are also two yard waste dates in the spring.) 

Understanding what goes where takes time to learn. If you’re ever unsure, the WasteWise app is here to help you sort like a pro.

Automated waste collection truck lifts food scraps cart. The arm is controlled by an operator in the cab of the vehicle.

Good news for workers, too

Before the Edmonton Cart Rollout, City waste collectors lifted thousands of heavy garbage bags each day. Automating the process keeps them safer. 

The collectors drive the trucks, but it’s the people of the city who drive the change.

So, again, thank you. 

“Thank you for playing an important part in improving Edmonton’s waste system and environment,” said Fowler. “Your dedication and willingness to learn throughout this change make a huge difference.”

Editor’s note: Go to to stay up to date on seasonal collection changes, find your yard waste collection dates, and read helpful tips to become a Cart Rollout expert.