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Back Alley and Front Collection


Depending on neighborhood design, cart collection occurs at the street-front or in back alleys.

Since 2017, we have been working with residents in areas of west and north Lethbridge to shift back alley cart pickups to front collection. Changes are now complete in all assessed west side neighborhoods and most of the assessed areas in north Lethbridge. 

It is important to note that not all households in Lethbridge will be affected by this change.

Some neighbourhoods in north and south Lethbridge will be assessed for front collection during the Summer and Fall of 2021. Specific neighborhoods include Redwood, Lakeview, Agnes Davidson, Victoria Park, London Road and Upper Eastside.

Any resident or property owner affected by this change will be notified by letter and staff are available to discuss the change and work with residents. 

  • Since the beginning of the project, we have assessed 7,862 households for back to front cart collection. Approximately 4,100 households met the criteria for this move and have been changed from back to front pick-up, even in areas where there is on-street parking.

  • We are committed to working with residents through this process and we will discuss additional feedback and factors that may not have been included in the assessment before a final decision is made.

Questions or Concerns?
Please call 311

Your feedback is tracked and reported in this project.

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Mobility Supports
We have a program for residents that are not able to physically move the cart to its collection location. 

Call 311 for more information.

We understand that those with back alley cart pickup have had this system in place for many years and this change may require storing carts in other locations and/or rolling carts a longer distance.

We are here to help. Please call 311 if you have any questions or concerns.

If you receive a letter from us confirming the move, you can call 311 and request a member of our team meet you at your property to discuss options for moving your cart, placing your cart in the new space or finding storage options to support you through this change.

Rationale at a Glance

  • The Waste & Recycling department has been able to prevent waste utility rate increases between 2011 and 2019 by continually finding efficiencies in our collection processes. 
    • There was a slight increase in 2019 when the curbside recycling program was implemented  because it was a new program that saw increased costs for curbside collection, processing and marketing of the recyclable materials. 
    • There was no increase to 2021 waste and recycling utility rates and we continue to maintain the rates by continuing to find efficiencies through projects like this
  • Front collection creates efficiencies in how we collect your carts (i.e. faster collection, less backing up and turning around, less navigating in tight areas and around fences) allowing us to ensure we get everything collected on time and on schedule.
    • By moving collection to the front in areas where the change is possible, there has been an increase of 7% efficiency for recycling routes and 5.5% on garbage routes (See details on Project Status & Cost Benefit Analysis, table 6, page 19.)
  • Streets are a lot wider than back alleys and less awkward for large garbage trucks (35 feet and 24,000 kgs is a lot to maneuver!)  Less backing up and turning around means greater line of site for drivers, making it safer for pedestrians in the area.
  • Front collection is a much safer way for our trucks and employees to service your garbage cart. Weather conditions, parking issues and other objects in back alleys can make lanes impassable.  
  • Front collection ensures that residents take their cart back onto their property, which is a general requirement in our waste bylaw. This is an ongoing issue that occurs throughout our city.

There are many reasons why this change is occurring. We would encourage you to read our in-depth report on the rationale and background: Project Status & Cost Benefit Analysis.


Tips for Front Collection

Please ensure waste collection carts are placed out for pick up on collection day before 7 a.m.

Carts must be a minimum of 1.5 metres / 5 feet away from any obstacles (cars, trucks, vans, other carts).  If there are cars or trucks parked in front of your sidewalk, you can still put your garbage cart 1.5 metres away from the vehicle so your cart can be emptied safely.

If you have any questions, please contact 403-320-3111.

How to Avoid Pick-up Hiccups