Calgary report suggests custom waste fees, EPR push


Calgary’s Waste & Recycling Services team has submitted several aspirational ideas to city council about ways to meet waste reduction goals while improving elements of service for Calgarians, touching on everything from residents having waste rates that reflect actual output, to advocating for provincial extended producer responsibility.

The proposals are one component of the city’s strategy to divert 70% of all waste from Calgary landfills by 2025.

Most notably, the April 2018 Report to council suggests an option that residential customers could have variable pricing for its Black Cart Program by residents paying only for the amount they throw away.

Of course, not all households produce the same amount of waste, and accordingly, not all households require the same level of service,” wrote Katherine Trajan, leader of strategic planning & policy for Calgary’s Waste & Recycling Services, in the committee report. “Customers prefer to be charged only for the level of service they require, and it is more transparent for individuals to pay only for what they use,” she added.

Trajan wrote that in 2018 Q2, her team may seek approval for a variable pricing approach that will allow residents to choose a black cart size option and be charged accordingly. Residents would be charged for excess waste that is outside of the black cart.Currently, residents bag excess waste that does not fit in their black cart and it is collected at no additional cost.

Similar options under the Blue Cart and Green Cart programs will be investigated during the 2019-2022 business cycle, the report states.

EPR Advocacy


The committee report states that extended producer responsibility shifts the accountability and costs of recycling from local governments to producers to incentivize producers to reduce waste associated with their products and packaging, and to create products that are readily reusable or recyclable.

“If the Government of Alberta implemented an EPR program, this would provide financial savings and environmental benefits for The City of Calgary, other Alberta municipalities, and taxpayers,” states the committee report. “The financial risk associated with changes in the global markets for recycled materials would then be carried by producers, and as a group they would also have the purchasing power to invest in recycling processes that can produce higher-grade materials.”

Alberta has not yet implemented a legislated EPR program, the report notes, while all other provinces have implemented or are in the process of implementing a form of EPR regulation. The report notes that city council approved a request for decision (RFD) for the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) Municipal Leaders’ Caucus (March 14-15, 2018) to advocate that the Government of Alberta develop and implement legislation to establish EPR in Alberta. Following Council approval, the RFD was presented at the AUMA Municipal Leaders’ Caucus and received unanimous consent, ensuring the AUMA will send the issue to its Environment and Sustainability Committee and renew advocacy efforts for EPR with the provincial government. The City of Calgary will also continue to support the efforts of the Recycling Council of Alberta.

The report states that staff will continue working with AUMA and supporting its advocacy efforts.  Staff will also continue collaborating with the Recycling Council of Alberta and supporting their advocacy efforts.