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Business Waste, Recycling & Organics

The Business Waste Diversion Strategy was approved by City Council to reduce commercial and industrial waste in Lethbridge by 45% by 2030. The strategy, along with residential curbside recycling and new curbside organics programs, ensures that everyone works together to reduce waste in our city.

Tipping rates

​​In an effort to divert recyclable materials from the landfill, tipping rates will be adjusted annually to encourage recycling of materials rather than landfill disposal. 

Mandatory Recycling and Organics

The City’s waste reduction target aims to reduce waste coming from Lethbridge by half. The City's waste audits demonstrate that the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) and the Construction and Demolition (C&D) sectors together have historically represented around two-thirds of landfilled waste each year. It is critical that everyone does their part to achieve this goal. 

The Mandatory Recycling program was due to be implemented in 2020, however, was put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The City is re-launching the program in early 2023. The re-launch of Mandatory Recycling now overlaps with the introduction of Mandatory Organics, also launching in early 2023.  

Inspections and surcharges

Since March 1, 2020, businesses unloading waste at the Lethbridge Waste and Recycling Centre are charged $50 per tonne on the entire load if the load contains a combination of more than 25% commercially recyclable materials.

Starting on February 1, 2023, loads will also be inspected for organic materials (e.g. yard waste, food waste). If a load contains a combination of more than 25% commercially recyclable and/or organic materials, an educational surcharge note will be issued. The education period will last until September 5, 2023, at which time the $50/tonne surcharge will be applied to loads with more than the established threshold for commercially recyclable and/or organic materials. 

How does this work?

When you or your waste hauler bring a load of garbage into the facility, the load may be inspected for recyclable and/or organic materials that shouldn't be in the garbage. Loads containing more than 25% of recyclable and/or organic materials (commencing on September 5, 2023), measured on a weight or volume basis, will be assessed a surcharge of $50 per tonne for the entire load. 

More information on the surcharge process for landfill customers


What's Recyclable and Organic in the Industrial, Commercial and Construction sectors?

Our goal is to have businesses and organizations recycling the same materials that residents do plus materials specific to commercial waste such as scrap metal, asphalt shingles and unprocessed wood. The Lethbridge Waste and Recycling Centre has a Commercial Drop-Off (CDO) area for all of these recyclable materials.​

* Organics surcharges will start on September 5, 2023.

​​Business Waste Diversion Strategy

Accordion Answer

On July 20, 2015, City Council approved the Waste Diversion Policy​, which ​​directed Waste & Recycling Services to develop waste diversion and waste disposal targets for the residential sector; construction and demolition sector; and the industrial, commercial, and institutional sector.

​The purpose of this policy was to provide guidelines to encourage the efficient use of natural resources, with the guiding principle to treat the waste stream as "Resource not Waste." This fits with the goal of City Council's Environmental Policy to minimize Lethbridge's ecological footprint.


The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant impact on the implementation of the ICI Waste Diversion​ Strategy. Consequently, some programs planned to start in 2020, 2021, and 2022 had to be delayed, which impacted the original 5-year schedule. As a result, the new 10-year Strategy implementation is presented in the table below.

Click image above to enlarge


​In 2008, a Comprehensive Waste Diversion/Waste Prevention Master Plan​ was completed by Sonnevera International Corp. to guide the future of waste diversion and to conserve landfill space within the City of Lethbridge. The plan reviewed all sectors of waste generation, and found that businesses create almost three quarters of all waste landfilled in Lethbridge. The Master plan recommended that the business sector (including all non-residential) be a priority target for waste reduction and diversion initiatives.


In 2013, the City of Lethbridge Waste & Recycling Services retained EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd. (now Tetra Tech EBA Inc.) to conduct a Stakeholder Engagement Project for the ICI and C&D sectors. In partnership with Sonnevera and Ipsos Reid, separate stakeholder engagement and consultation sessions were conducted for both ICI and C&D sectors, involving waste generators, haulers and processors. This was done in order to have independent industry focuses and accurately gain insight into material specific diversion programs.

After the completion of the ICI Stakeholder Engagement Report in spring 2014, city administration began to implement an ICI Waste Diversion Strategy in alignment with City Council Strategic Goal #5. This strategy was presented to City Council and approved in the summer of 2015. City administration provided options for 5, 7, and 10 year implementation schedules. City Council requested that the strategy be implemented over a 5 year timeframe.

In 2018 we announced at city council the implementation of surcharges beginning in 2019.

In January 2019 businesses received letters from the city detailing the new program. Information sessions were held with key stakeholders in the hauling and industrial sectors to inform them of the surcharge program and its effects. Because the surcharges most directly impact construction companies, all members of the Lethbridge Construction Association and BILD Lethbridge were contacted and informed of the upcoming changes. The City worked with a committee from BILD Lethbridge to find solutions to improve diversion within the home building sector.

In March 2020 information sessions were held for all businesses, haulers and processors to explain the upcoming Mandatory Recycling program. The report from the engagement session can be found here. Unfortunately, due to the COVID pandemic, the plans for mandatory recycling were paused shortly after the information session.

The City of Lethbridge re-launched the Program and introduced Mandatory Organics in early 2023. In preparation for the re-launch of the ICI Mandatory Recycling and implementation of the organics, the WRU hosted an in-person meeting with waste hauler representatives in September 2022 to discuss impacts on their business and answer questions.

As part of the re-launching of Business and Organizations Mandatory Recycling and the implementation of the Mandatory Organics Programs in 2022-2023, the City promoted three opportunities to discuss the program implementation and have questions answered by City of Lethbridge administration subject-matter experts.


2022 (2021 report)

CWSPC Meeting:

Date: Thursday, March 3, 2022

Presentation begins at: 0:47:55

2021 (2020 report)

CWSPC Meeting:

Date: Monday June 8, 2021

Presentation begins at: 1:17:10

2020 (2019 report)

Council Meeting:

Date: Monday April 6, 2020

Presentation begins at: 1:18:00

2019 (2018 report)

CIC Meeting:

Date: Monday, June 17, 2019

Presentation begins at: 2:38:15

2018 (2017 report)

Council Meeting:  Business Strategy 

Date: Monday, June 25, 2018

Presentation Begins at: 2:11:51

CIC Meeting:

Date: Monday, June 18, 2018

Presentation begins at: 00:01:40

2017 (2016 report)

Council Meeting:

Date:  Monday, May 8, 2017

Presentation begins at: 00:50:30

For more information

Phone: 311 or 403-320-3111 (if outside of Lethbridge)
Online: Submit a service request