Bylaws related to garbage and waste

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We have a number of bylaws related to garbage and trash. Below is a summary based on the most common questions we receive from Calgarians:

  • Single-family households are provided with green, blue and black carts. Carts can hold up to 60 kilograms. If your black cart is full and you have extra bags of garbage that will not fit, you will need to buy tags to put on extra garbage bags for pickup. Extra bags cannot weigh more than 20 kilograms.
  • Extra yard waste must be in paper yard waste bags. Roll the tops of the bags closed to prevent spills and allow your collector to pick up bags properly. Set bags at least 0.5m (2 ft) away from the side of your cart.
  • Carts should be set out by 7 a.m. on your collection day, but not before 7 p.m. the day before and be removed no later than 7 p.m. on collection day.
  • Sharp objects must be packaged in a puncture resistant, non-breakable container with a tight fitting lid before putting in your black cart.
  • All waste must be placed in proper garbage containers with handles and lids (max. 100 litres), or in a standard plastic garbage bag.
  • Garbage must not accumulate on your property.
  • Owners/occupants are responsible for maintaining their property in a tidy condition.
  • Collector's access to the garbage collection site must not be blocked.
  • All material transported to the landfill must be covered or secured in transit.
  • Garbage must not be burned.
  • Medical waste and needles must be properly packaged and made safe for collection. Place them in puncture resistant non-breakable containers with a tight-fitting lid and put in black cart as garbage.
  • Animal waste and sawdust need to be placed in a paper bag and rolled closed or placed in a compostable bag and tied closed and put in the green cart.
  • Garbage dusty materials, like street sweeping and vacuum dust, needs to be double-bagged in plastic garbage bags and then put in the black cart.
  • Hazardous waste, biochemical waste, dead animals, tires, automobile parts, furniture and liquids must not be set out for residential garbage collection.
  • Commercial waste must be set out in a commercial bin for collection.

All material transported to the landfill must be covered or secured in transit

Fines for violations of these regulations range between $125 and $1,000.

Kinds of waste

Animal waste is any kind of waste that comes from animals or from the treatment of animals. Exceptions to this include animal bodies or carcasses, and body parts of animals.

Biomedical waste includes:

  • human waste, including parts of the human body and tissue;
  • infectious human waste;
  • infectious animal waste.

Microbiological waste including cell cultures and specimens of microorganisms. This also includes laboratory material that has come into contact with these.

  • Blood and body fluid waste;
  • Medical sharps such as needles, syringes, scalpels, razor blades and precision knives. This also includes contaminated broken glass and laboratory materials capable of causing punctures or cuts.

General medical waste is any kind of non-hazardous medical waste. It includes soiled dressings (such as band-aids and gauze), sponges, surgery drapes, casts, catheters, disposable gloves and specimen containers. Lab coats, aprons, towels and disposable sheets are also a part in this category.

Hazardous waste is any kind of waste that has dangerous properties to it. You can find out more about what these properties are in the Environment Protection and Enhancement Act and in the Waste Control Regulation.

Industrial waste is any kind of waste created by commercial or industrial activities that poses health, safety, and/or environmental concerns. This form of waste includes lime, sulphur, asbestos, contaminated soil, empty chemical containers and drums, carbon, caustics, sludge, and industrial sump water.

Yard waste is waste from that comes from gardening or yard maintenance activities, such as lawn mowing and/or pruning. This kind of waste includes grass, leaves, plants, tree and hedge clippings, and sod​.

Learn more at garbage and waste FAQs.

Related bylaws

We enforce the Waste Bylaw that regulates garbage disposal in Calgary. While this is the main bylaw related to garbage disposal in the city, sections of the Community Standards Bylaw and Traffic Bylaw also relate to the burning and transportation of waste materials.

This page is an overview of these regulations. Please refer to the actual bylaw for more detailed information. Original copies of the bylaw are available at the City Clerk's office.

Filing a complaint

How to file a complaint and what happens to it

If you know of a bylaw infraction and would like to report it to Animal & Bylaw Services, please call 311 (from within Calgary) or 403-268-CITY (2489) (from outside Calgary).

Illegal dumping in Calgary

When someone deliberately dumps waste on public or private property without consent, they are dumping illegally. This practice is common in out-of-the-way places like parks, back roads, open lots, alleys and newly developing areas.