What you need to know as Edmonton begins rollout of new garbage cart system

Click to play video: 'Edmonton rolling out new waste carts' Edmonton rolling out new waste carts
After two years of a pilot program that saw thousands of Edmontonians test out a new way of sorting waste, the city is officially expanding its new green and black bins to a quarter of a million homes. Sarah Ryan has the details. – Mar 15, 2021

The City of Edmonton is set to officially rollout its new garbage and food scraps cart program Monday.

The program will see homes being given a large cart to put their garbage bags in, as well as two food scraps bins. The small bin is for in-kitchen use and the large one is for outdoor storage and pickup.

The new system will launch initially to residents in some north and southeast neighbourhoods in the city.

“[The bins are] being rolled out to about a quarter of a million homes in Edmonton,” said Jodi Goebel, waste strategy director with the City of Edmonton.
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“That’s a change to how we collect waste, but it’s also a change to how we sort waste,” Goebel said. “So where as of right now we separate our garbage from our recycling, we’re introducing separate food scrap collection.”

Read more: New garbage, food scraps bins coming to more Edmonton homes

Pickup frequency will be reduced from every week to every two weeks. The carts will also be collected by an automated collection truck instead of by hand which is how garbage is currently collected.

Click to play video: 'City of Edmonton gets ready to roll out new cart program' City of Edmonton gets ready to roll out new cart program
City of Edmonton gets ready to roll out new cart program – Mar 13, 2021

How to get a smaller garbage bin

Residents previously had the option to select a smaller garbage bin size ahead of the rollout. The standard size is 240 litres but smaller bins of 120 litres are also available. Those who didn’t specify they want a smaller bin will get a large bin for the rollout.

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If you haven’t signed up for the smaller bin yet, Goebel said she suggests waiting two to four weeks with the initial larger size to see if the change is needed.

After April 6, residents can exchange their bins one time for no charge. If another exchange needs to be done, the city will charge a fee of $18.50.

Initially, nearly 20,000 homes selected the small bin.

What goes in the food scraps bin?

Goebel said the food scraps bin, which is new to Edmonton, can take almost anything organic out of the kitchen.

“Anything that you have leftover day-to-day in the kitchen,” she said. “It’s your eggshells, your bones, your vegetable peelings, that little bit of leftover food you didn’t manage to get through.”

“The green bin is really efficient for just about anything.”

Small amounts of yard waste can also go into the food scraps bin — but the city will also run a seasonal program twice each year to collect larger amounts of yard waste.

The food scraps collection will occur weekly from spring to fall, and then every two weeks in the winter season.

Recycling will remain the same — in blue bags left at the curb.

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Click to play video: 'New garbage, food scraps bins coming to more Edmonton homes' New garbage, food scraps bins coming to more Edmonton homes
New garbage, food scraps bins coming to more Edmonton homes – Jan 6, 2021

Read more: Green carts coming? The status of Edmonton’s waste, recycling and compost plan

Why is the city making this change?

Edmontonians can see when their neighbourhood will receive the new bins using this map. All neighbourhoods are expected to switch over by the end of August.

The city made the switch after running a successful pilot program for 8,000 homes in 13 neighbourhoods starting in 2019. While the city-wide rollout was set to occur in summer 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the launch.

Previously, the city sorted through garbage and separated organic waste itself at the Edmonton Composting Facility. Structural issues led to the closure of the facility in 2019.

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“If you look at before the bins — once everything gets mixed together and compacted, it’s just not an efficient way to get things where you want them to be,” Goebel said.

The organic matter in the scrap bins will be processed at the city’s new Anaerobic Digestion Facility.

This is the first big step in the city’s 25-year plan to divert 90 per cent of household waste from the landfill. It expects to reach about 65 per cent of residential waste reduction by 2023.

Those who need help with their bins can sign up for assistance for no additional charge.

The city will also launch a program that will allow residents to share one large cart between main and secondary suites in September 2021.

–with files from Global News’ Sarah Komadina and Emily Mertz

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