Calgary businesses, schools and hospitals may have to recycle more

Calgary's corporate and institutional sectors could soon be asked to reduce the amount of recyclable material they send to landfills.

Committee proposes plan to encourage more paper, cardboard and compost recycling from those sectors

Calgary's corporate and institutional sectors could soon be asked to reduce the amount of recyclable material they send to landfills. 2:14

It looks as if private businesses and large institutions in Calgary will be next ones asked to cut the amount of recyclables going into city landfills.

A council committee has approved a plan that will ultimately ban recyclables from city dumps.

  • Watch the video above for more on the story from CBC's Colleen Underwood

It's part of the city's goal of diverting 80 per cent of garbage from its landfills by the year 2020.

The city says it's halfway to its commitment of diverting 80 per cent of garbage away from landfills by 2020, but businesses, schools and hospitals will have to start recycling more in order to reach that target. (CBC)

Spencer Kennedy, who works with private recycling firm Urban Impact, told councillors this morning he knows from his own trips to the dump that companies still throw away recyclables.

"It has surprised me in Calgary that one can go to the tipping face at a landfill and unload a truck full of cardboard boxes," he said. 

The city is only halfway to its 2020 goal, so now it plans to target the sectors behind one-third of all garbage — industry, the retail sector, schools and hospitals.

Coun. Brian Pincott says tipping fees will be raised and — after a few years of education — paper, cardboard and compostables will ultimately be banned from city landfills.

"It is shocking how much is actually still going to our landfill, but I do understand that it does take time to educate people on how they can do it, especially for businesses," he said. 

Coun. Evan Woolley says the city realizes the more than 160,000 small businesses in Calgary might have a hard time adjusting to the new rules — particularly the ban on compostable items. 

"I think the organics is going to have some challenges, but I believe restaurants are going to be on board," he said. 

Woolley says the city will work with businesses to help them achieve the targets and he says the the reaction from the business community has been quite positive.

"Lots of businesses are already doing it," says Woolley.

The plan will go for final approval at an upcoming city council meeting.

With files from CBC's Scott Dippel


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.