Calgary ORGANICS Bylaw Nov.1

How does this affect Food Processors? 

On November 1, 2017 the City of Calgary Waste and Recycling Bylaw will require all businesses and organizations to separate specific food and yard waste materials for diversion. The bylaw applies to all businesses and organizations, including property management companies, offices, stores, malls, schools, restaurants, hotels, healthcare facilities, manufacturers, factories, non-profit organizations, places of worship and warehouses.

Click here for more information on the Bylaw. 

Question & Answer 

Are you ready for the City of Calgary’s new waste diversion strategy? Learn what you need to know as AFPA speaks with Lauren Minuk, Public Program Coordinator, Community & Customer Initiatives Waste & Recycling Services with The City of Calgary.

What is happening November 1st?

Starting November 1, all businesses and organizations, including food processors, will be required to divert a specific list of food and yard waste materials. More information about the required materials and details of the bylaw requirements are here.

Businesses and organizations will also be required to provide clear signage on containers showing what goes into each bin. They will also be required to provide education to employees and tenants on a yearly basis or when a new employee starts. The information must include the location of garbage, recycling and food and yard waste bins, what goes where and how materials should be prepared for diversion. 

Why is this happening? 

Calgary businesses and organizations produce one third of all waste going to City of Calgary landfills. Of this, 31 per cent is food and yard waste. Among food processors this number is likely even higher. This means it’s important to reuse resources and keep food and yard waste out of our landfills. It takes up valuable landfill space and releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change. Check out our Too Good to Waste Video for more information. 

What specifically are businesses required to do? 

Businesses need to:

•    Collect and store their food and yard waste separate from other materials (such as recyclables and garbage).
•    Ensure that the material is composted or diverted through another means.
•    Post clear signs on collection containers showing what goes in each bin.
•    Provide information to tenants and employees about what can be collected, and how to prepare and sort materials.
•    Inform tenants and employees about the food and yard waste requirements on a yearly basis.
•    Inform new tenants and employees about the food and yard waste requirements when they move in or start working at your business.

What are some things businesses should be thinking about as they try to get prepared?

First, consider how much waste you’ll be dealing with and where it’s coming from. Figure out where and how much waste is generated at your business. This can help guide your conversations with potential collection companies, as well as set up an efficient program to divert food and yard waste. A waste audit is a great way to figure this out – there are tools to do this on our website – or you can go through your facility’s processes from start to finish. Note where waste is generated and where it’s currently going. 

Next, contact a few collection companies to get quotes and discuss how food and yard waste service could work at your site. You can find a list of collection companies on Green Calgary’s Specialty Recycler Directory. Once you have a few quotes, make sure that the contract allows for flexibility. You should be able to adjust your service as you gain more participation in food and yard waste and decrease the amount of garbage left over. By decreasing the size and frequency of garbage pickup, you can save on collection costs. 

Finally, as you’re looking around your facility, identify additional opportunities to reduce waste. It’s better for the environment and your business’s bottom line. Contact AFPA for some great success stories about food processors who have decreased costs by reducing waste.

What happens if a business is not compliant on November 1st? 

Enforcement is complaint-based. Tenants, employees and customers should talk to the property owner or manager about the recycling and food and yard waste options available. If employees or customers are concerned that a recycling or food and yard waste service is not being offered, then they can contact 311. The City will follow our education-first strategy, which means that we will continue to provide information and support to ensure all employees and customers have access to waste diversion programs. If there is still no compliance, the property owner will be subject to a fine.

What is the responsibility of a business that owns their own building and rents space to tenants?

The owner is responsible for ensuring their business complies with the food and yard waste bylaw, as well as the recycling bylaw that came into effect in November 2016. Building owners should ensure that recycling and food and yard waste diversion programs are available, which often means providing the programs for the tenants. In some cases, it works better for tenants to manage their own waste, as long as they provide bylaw-compliant recycling and food and yard waste programs. This is a great opportunity to connect with tenants to find out if they currently have waste diversion programs available and if they need any support.

What support does the City of Calgary offer?

The City offers a variety of tools and resources on, including:
•    Printable signage
•    How-to guides with more information about bylaw compliance and how to make your programs work effectively
•    Program information letters that can be sent to tenants or employees
•    DIY Waste Audit calculator
•    Green Team Starter Guide
•    Right Sizing Tip Sheet
•    Success stories from other Calgary businesses

We can also support businesses and organizations by giving presentations about the bylaw, as well as staff lunch & learns to get your employees involved. If any AFPA members have questions or want to bounce some ideas around, they can get in touch by contacting 311 or submitting an online service request.