New fees approved for mandatory curbside composting in Calgary

City council approved the fees for the new green carts, which will be delivered to Calgary homes by the end of 2017, on Monday.

Green bins will be delivered next year, with garbage collection scaled back in response

Coun. Brian Pincott is happy Calgary is moving forward on city-wide composting. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

Curbside composting is coming to your neighbourhood, along with a mandatory fee of $6.50 per month. 

City council approved the fees for the new green carts, which will be delivered to Calgary homes by the end of 2017, on Monday. The carts will include a small compost bucket that fits under a kitchen sink. 

Coun. Brian Pincott is thrilled the city is finally ready to take this next step in reducing the amount of material going to its landfills after a successful pilot project. 

"It's important to frame this in the context of, not a fee but in cost avoidance," he said.

"The liability, the environmental liability that we have in our landfills and specifically and particularly around organics is one of our... it's a huge environmental liability that we have."

Costs and fees

Garbage pickup will be scaled back to every other week once the green carts are in place, with the city arguing there will be much less waste once Calgarians start composting.

The green carts will roll out one quadrant at a time, with charges appearing once the bins are in place.

Only those residences that already have black and blue bins will receive the new compost carts, meaning larger residential buildings will be excluded. 

Coun. Andre Chabot asked council to tack on the cost of the program to the property tax bill, rather than individual utility bills. 

"This way, it's clear cut.  The other way, it's a user fee that looks like 'oh it's something separate,' but at the end of the day there's only one taxpayer," he said. 

The composting facility in southeast Calgary cost $143 million to build and the program will add $24 million to the waste and recycling services budget in 2017, and $30 million in 2018.

With files from Scott Dippel