On November 1, some 80,000 Calgary businesses and organizations will be required to recycle the same items Calgarians already do at home.
The requirement comes through a bylaw amendment and is part of the city’s Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Waste Diversion Strategy.
It’s estimated the business sector accounts for one third of all material sent to city landfills and 88 per cent of it isn’t garbage at all–it’s made up of paper, cardboard and other items that can be diverted from landfills and recycled.
“This sector is the largest in Calgary–very diverse,” City of Calgary waste diversion specialist Leanne Michie said. “It includes everything from hospitals, schools, places of worship, restaurants and hotels.”
Construction and demolition activities are excluded.
The city spent two years working with industry stakeholders, from building owners to industries and haulers, to develop a program that would be easy for Calgarians to adapt to.
“We’ve seen so much success in the single family sector (blue cart program) and now the multi-family sector, as well, with their recycling program, so we’re building off of that,” Michie said.
With a week until the bylaw goes into effect, the city can’t say how many businesses will comply. But officials are confident most will adhere to the rules.
“Anecdotally, the businesses we’ve spoken to are excited about this, they’re quite keen,” Michie said. “They mostly want to know if they’re ready, if they’re bylaw compliant – that’s the most common question we get.”
Businesses that aren’t compliant face a $250 penalty. But Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell said fines are a last resort.
“It’s new for many people. And we want to make it easy,” Farrell said.
“We want to make it easier to recycle and re-use and reduce, let’s not forget that our first priority is reduction, before we look at penalties.”
The city has set a target of 70 per cent waste diversion by 2025.