Calgary to consider 'pay as you throw' for garbage pickup

The City of Calgary will explore a pay-as-you-throw program for garbage pickup aimed at rewarding those who toss less trash. 

Pilot program would track black bin use, rewarding those with less trash

Calgary will explore the possibility of rewarding those with less trash. The bins already in use in Calgary contain radio-frequency identification chips that would allow the city to track their use. (Pat Fogg/CBC)

The City of Calgary will explore a pay-as-you-throw program for garbage pickup aimed at rewarding those who toss less trash. 

If implemented, the program would use existing identification chips in black bins to track how often garbage is picked up from homes, with lower bills for those who put out their bins less frequently. 

The idea is to encourage Calgarians to waste less by offering a financial incentive. It's the flip side of a program that allows payment of a surcharge if citizens have more garbage than what fits in a black bin. 

For now, however, the pay-as-you-throw program is just a concept. 

The city will explore the idea with Calgarians and report back to council in 2021 on whether to go further, implementing a tracking database and new billing system for a one-year pilot. 

That database and billing system could cost between $800,000 and $1.1 million.

No other major North American city has a similar program, so there's no comparable data for the city to use. But administration told city council that a small community in Quebec has successfully implemented a similar program. 


Drew Anderson is a web journalist at CBC Calgary. Like almost every journalist working today, he's won a few awards. He's also a third-generation Calgarian. You can follow him on Twitter @drewpanderson. Contact him in confidence at Signal contact upon request. CBC Secure Drop:


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