Edmonton Cart Rollout is underway

The rollout has begun.

The City of Edmonton’s new black carts for garbage and green carts for food scraps and other organics are now being delivered to neighbourhoods across the city.

Ellerslie resident Nilesh Bali was on his driveway as crews delivered his family’s carts. 

“It looks good,” said Bali.  “I think it’s going to work really well, and, hopefully, this will work for us.” 

Check collection calendar before using

On average, 10,000 carts will be delivered each week through the end of August to approximately 250,000 homes in Edmonton. Carts are being delivered to front yards. 

Residents are to put out their carts on driveways or behind their property near alleys on their pickup days—starting as early as April for some.

That’s worth repeating. 🙂 

The carts are being rolled out over the next few months, but the City asks that you check the city map and collection calendar delivered with the carts to confirm what day to switch from putting out garbage bags to putting out carts. 

“I think the most important thing we want Edmontonians to know is that you don’t use your carts tomorrow,” said Jodi Goebel, who is the City of Edmonton’s Director of Waste Strategy. 

“There’s going to be a bright red sticker on your carts that reminds you to check the map and calendar that comes in your information package,” said Goebel. “You’re probably going to have a few days or even weeks to work through that info package before you actually start using your carts.”

Residents who receive carts from March 15 to April 10 will start the cart-based collection the week of April 13.

Reminder: Find your first carts collection date by downloading the WasteWise app, checking the info delivered with the carts or going to edmonton.ca/waste

Info package 

The large garbage cart (240L) has room for 4-6 regular-sized garbage bags. The cart for food scraps (which is also good for day-to-day yard waste) is 120L in volume. 

Delivered with the carts is a green kitchen pail for inside your house to collect food scraps and other organics. 

As well, residents get an information package that explains the collection start date, and provides tips about what materials should go into which cart and how best and most safely to put out the carts for collection. 

The new carts will be picked up by trucks that have been outfitted with mechanical arms.  

There’s all kinds of helpful information, including a guide to what waste goes where, delivered with the carts.

Food scraps out of landfill

Goebel said the new carts get a lot of attention, but the bigger story is how the new program itself—one cart for garbage and a separate cart for food scraps—is better news for the environment. 

“It’s not just the carts and it’s not just a different style of collection,” said Goebel. “It’s about keeping food scraps out of the landfill.” 

Goebel said a recent report from the United Nations revealed that Canadians throw out 79 kg per person per year of food waste. 

“We need to do better by that waste, and we need people to see it,” said Goebel. “And then they can think about how to reduce it, as well.” 

Food waste and organics can be transformed into compost, but not if they are tossed into the landfill with other garbage. Not only do food scraps take up valuable space in the landfill, but they also generate greenhouse gas emissions. 

File photo shows mechanical arm being used to pick up and transfer to truck contents of food scraps and garbage carts.

Curbside enthusiasm

For Bali, who lives with his wife, two children and his parents, switching from garbage bags to a system where garbage is separated from organics will take a little practice. 

“We’re so used to putting everything into one bag and putting it out there,” he said, “but we’ll get used to it.”

Bali already has a bit of a head start. 

“We try to do some composting,” he said. “Whatever is in the kitchen, my mom puts it aside for me. I get some soil and put the peelings in there, and use the compost in the summertime. It takes a bit of time, but it’s good.” 

To find out when carts are coming to your home, use the lookup tool at edmonton.ca/waste.

Editor’s note: the pic at the top of the post shows the new carts delivered in the area of Edwards Drive and 83 Street on March 15, 2021. The City recently hosted a livestream with all kinds of info and questions (answered) about the Edmonton Cart Rollout. Dive in: