The City of Calgary voted on Monday to approve a proposal that will soon see residential organics and recyclables collected at curbside. Calgary, which has access to inexpensive landfill, has long been perceived as lagging in the national effort to divert waste from land disposal and find higher-end uses for materials such as kitchen scraps, used plastics, glass, metal, etc.
Calgary’s decision was based on the success of a pilot project that achieved better-than-expected results from a so-called “triple bottom line” analysis that included environmental and social benefits, as well as economic factors. Local politicians have asked for more information on bag limits and related options like tag-a-bag, which suggests user-pay-type strategies might be used to augment waste diversion with waste reduction.
“It’s very positive that the City of Calgary is tackling its organic waste,” says Christina Seidel, executive director of the Recycling Council of Alberta. “Organic material simply has no business in a landfill, and this recent move will result in very significant diversion of residential waste, especially if accompanied by an effective communications and incentive plan.”
The December/January edition of Solid Waste & Recycling magazine will feature an in-depth article on Calgary’s plan and the analysis it used to make its curbside decision.