Sign In

Curbside Recycling FAQ

Blue carts are scheduled to be delivered to all Lethbridge homes between April 15 and May 10. Residents might not want to start filling their blue carts immediately as the curbside recycling pick-up will not begin until all of the carts are delivered. Depending on what part of the city residents live in, the first blue cart pick-up will happen between May 14 and the 24.

​​​​​​ On Nov. 28, 2016, Lethbridge City Council approved an official business resolution​ that included a residential curbside recycling program. Curbside recycling was recommended within the Residential Waste Diversion Strategy,​ which was also approved by City Council on Nov. 28, 2016. Curbside recycling is a demonstrated method for reducing waste and keeping more recyclable materials out of the landfill.

By offering a more convenient way for residents to recycle their materials, more waste will be diverted from the landfill. Curbside recycling reduces barriers to participation, making it a more accessible and inclusive option. It's important to recycle in order to recover useful materials instead of disposing them in landfills, where their value is lost.

Accordion Answer
 When did curbside recycling begin?

  • Full implementation of the curbside recycling program began in May of 2019, after construction of the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).
 What can be recycled?
 Why are there so many rules around what can and can’t go in blue carts?

​​It might feel like there are a lot of rules, but a big part of a successful curbside recycling program is quality control. We need to make sure we’re collecting clean, high-quality materials that will have the most environmental benefit, can be safely processed and that have value in the marketplace. Weighing these factors and talking with other communities, we’ve created a list of what’s in and what’s out so we can make a positive impact with our program. For more information on whats in and what's out, visit

 What happens to my recycling?
  • ​​Household recycling such as paper, cardboard, plastic, metal and glass is collected and processed at local facilities, then sold on the open market as a commodity, where it gets recycled into new materials. Click here to see the Recycling Council of Alberta's Market Update​ on commodity pricing.
  • Items such as tires, paint and electronics are collected through programs administered by the Alberta Recycling Management Authority. For a quick fact sheet on materials collected through those programs in Alberta, please click here for more info.
  • The City of Calgary has a great video explaining the recycling process, which is very similar to what the program looks like in Lethbridge:
 Can I still bring my recyclables to the three recycling stations?
  • Yes! ​​The recycling stations​ have remained open 24/7/365 to serve residents who have larger volumes of recyclables.
  • Recycling stations also serve as the home for seasonal yard waste sites​ (open April 1 – Nov 30), where residents can drop off branches, grass, leaves and garden waste for composting or mulching. 
 What are the costs for this program?
  • ​​​​Projected increase in Waste and Recycling utility service cost will be $7 per month, starting in 2019. This fee includes the cost of contructing the MRF.
  • Administration was directed by City Council to prepare two projects for the 2018-2027 Capital Improvement Program, for the collection equipment for the residential curbside collection of recyclables, and for the design and construction of a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). These two projects will be presented for consideration to City Council in spring 2017.
  • A report with projected costs​ for both projects was prepared for City Council, examining various scenarios for construction and operation. 
 What else is the City doing to reduce waste in Lethbridge?
  • ​​The Waste & Recycling Utility provides environmentally safe, timely, and cost effective collection, disposal and recycling services for residents and other commercial customers in Lethbridge. Approximately 120,000 tonnes of solid waste, 10,000 tonnes of recyclables and 1,100 tonnes of leaf and yard waste are processed annually at the Waste and Recycling Centre. Additionally, approximately 3,000 tonnes of residential recyclables are collected from three recycling depots in the City and processed at a local facility.
  • Traditionally the focus of waste management systems has been collection and waste disposal. The current focus is on environmentally sustainable waste management practices. Waste & Recycling Services has been developing programs that focus efforts on waste prevention and waste diversion.
  • The commitment for the future is to reverse the trend of the increasing rate of per capita disposal for Lethbridge. It will be necessary to focus attention beyond traditional waste collection and managing a disposal site to offering new programs that support the principle of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. To do this a number of key strategies that will result in an increase in waste diversion and a reduction in the per capita disposal have been identified.  
  • For more information, please read the Residential Waste Diversion Strategy which was approved by City Council on Nov. 28, 2016
  • City Council also set targets to reduce waste from the business community, and approved a Business Waste Diversion Strategy on Aug. 4, 2015
  • City Council approved their Waste Diversion Policy​ on July 20, 2015, setting targets to reach 50% residential waste diversion rate by 2021, and 65% waste diversion rate by 2030. 
 What is the waste reduction strategy for the business sector?

On August 4, 2015, City Council approved a strategy that sets out how to meet their targets of reducing local business sector waste disposal by 25-per cent waste in the next six years and 45 per cent by 2030.

Council approved a five-year schedule to implement a waste diversion strategy for the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) sector and the Construction and Demolition (C & D) sector. Waste from these business sectors accounts for approximately 75 per cent of the material disposed of in the landfill each year.

The implementation schedule began with a one-year voluntary/education phase in 2016 followed by the introduction over the following three years from 2017-2019 of progressively increasing surcharges for the disposal of designated recyclable materials.

The final phase in 2020 will include the introduction of mandatory recycling and bans on disposing designated materials in the landfill. Commercial tipping fees at the landfill will progressively increase throughout the implementation schedule. The implementation strategy was developed in consultation with business sector stakeholders in 2013.

 When will we see a green cart (organics) curbside program?
  • Following the introduction of the residential curbside collection of recyclables (blue carts) in 2019, administration has been directed to prepare, for City Council's consideration, a program implementation plan for residential curbside collection of organics (green carts).
  • Currently, residents can use seasonal yard waste sites to drop off organics such as branches, grass, leaves and garden waste for composting or mulching.
  • Waste & Recycling Services also sells backyard composters to manage your household fruit and vegetable scraps, and yard waste.
  • A residential curbside organics (green cart) collection program would allow for composting of more materials than can be processed in backyard composters, given the higher temperatures involved in industrial composting processes (i.e. meat, dairy, bread, napkins, etc)
 What about private curbside recycling collectors?
  • ​Within the Nov. 28, 2016 official business resolution passed by City Council, administration was directed to create a consultation committee with the private recycling collection sector to explore potential opportunities for existing businesses to participate with a report presented to Council by May 31, 2017.


  • When City Council approved the program in the resolution we were asked to work together with private recyclers and have facilitated recycling discussions to explore potential opportunities for existing business to participate in the strategy.


  • On April 24th 2017, we presented the results of these sessions to council with the opportunities for the private recyclers to be part of the program, including:
    • Service the business community with commercial recyclable collection that were not included in residential curbside collection, helping with the ICI Waste Diversion Strategy
    • Specialized collection services i.e. Styrofoam, e-waste, etc.
    • Participate in the tenders that were going to be presented for the program i.e. sorting single stream from phase 1, operations of the MRF, etc.
    • Audit Services
    • Service the small business sector
    • Special events
  • Private curbside recycling collection businesses were invited to participate during the engagement process while creating the residential waste diversion strategy and will continue to play an important role in reducing waste within the community.


 What if I have too much garbage for bi-weekly collection?
  • Residents have the option of two garbage cart sizes to manage their waste, 360L (5-bag)  or 240L (3-bag). Residents can also opt to have additional garbage carts, for an additional fee. Contact us for more information or to get additional carts.
  • Recycling can greatly reduce the amount of garbage that is produced in a household. Many common materials we use in our everyday lives can be recycled, including newspapers, yogurt containers, laundry soap containers, plastic 'clam shell' bakery containers, soup/food cans, beverage containers and much more. To find out what can currently be recycled, visit
 What decisions has City Council made regarding curbside recycling?
​Nov. 28, 2016

City Council met to debate an official business resolution​ that included:

  • ​​The approval of the Residential Waste Diversion Strategy as presented on November 30, 2015;
  • Implementation of a curbside recycling pilot project starting in 2018 to a maximum of $600,000 with funding from recycling accumulated surplus;
  • Full implementation of bi-weekly residential curbside collection of recyclables (blue carts) in 2019;
  • Change from weekly to bi-weekly residential curbside collection of waste (black carts) in 2019;
  • The motion was passed 8-1​

Click here to watch the discussion and read the related documents​

Jan. 25, 2016

City Council met to debate an official business resolution that included:

  • Construction of a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), and further investigate private sector operation and potential regional partnership opportunities;
  • Implementation of a pilot project starting in 2016;
  • Full implementation of bi-weekly residential curbside of recyclables (blue carts) and garbage collection (black carts) in 2018
  • The motion was defeated by a vote of 5-4

Click here to watch the discussion and read the related documents.​

Nov. 30, 2015

Finance Committee heard presentations and asked questions related to:

These presentations provided council with the background knowledge and expertise needed to make decisions on the future recycling plans in 2016.

March 23, 2015
City Council held a special meeting on March 23, 2015 to debate several resolutions regarding recycling options.  As a result of the debate, the following outlines the decisions and next steps:

  • Research and report back to Council by April 27, 2015, ways to leverage current recycling services, aggressively encouraging recycling and enabling access to the service.
  • Environment Committee of Council to commission an independent consultant to evaluate a blue container system and explore the most cost efficient system and methods of delivering a curbside recycling solution, including operation of a MRF (Materials Recovery Facility).  The findings of this evaluation are to be presented to City Council by September 21, 2015
  • A draft policy will be developed that sets out a framework that maximizes the diversion of recyclable and compostable materials from the landfill in turn conserving the operating life of the landfill.
  • An action plan be developed aimed at providing education, and exploring incentives/disincentives and regulations for all waste streams that reach the landfill. The action plan is to be presented to City Council by the end of 2015.
  • A project plan to be developed and presented back to City Council on September 21, 2015 for the delivery of a pilot project​ for residential curbside recycling, including organics. ​
  • Click here to watch the discussion and read the related documents.​​​

Feb. 9, 2015

  • Finance Committee voted 6-3 to defeat a resolution to recommend that City Council to proceed with a residential Blue Cart curbside recycling pilot program in Spring 2016 with full implementation by Spring 2017.
  • Finance Committee then voted 7-2 to defeat a resolution proposing that the possibility of commissioning another community recycling survey be referred to City Council's Environment Committee.
  • Prior to the meeting adjournment, there was some indication that more community input may be sought on the curbside recycling issue.
  • Click here to watch the discussion and read the related documents.

Jan. 26, 2015

  • Finance Committee voted 6-3 to defeat a resolution to recommend a residential curbside organics collection (Green Cart) program to City Council.
  • Finance Committee voted 5-4 in favour of recommending a residential curbside recycling (Blue Cart) program to City Council. 
  • Click here to watch the discussion and read the related documents.

Nov. 20, 2014

  • Finance Committee voted 7-2 in favour of a resolution indicating the committee supports in principle the delivery of curbside recycling in Lethbridge.
  • After some discussion regarding the recommended frequency of a potential curbside program, the committee then voted to defer further discussion to January 2015. 
  • Click here to watch the discussion and read the related documents.
 What are the sources of waste generated in Lethbridge?
  • ​Residential   23%
  • Commercial, Institutional & Industrial   58%
  • Construction & Demolition 19%
 What is the composition of residential waste in Lethbridge?
  • ​Organics 48%
  • Recyclables 25%
  • Waste  27%

For more information

Report a problem like missed collection or mess in lane
Phone: 311 or 403-320-3111 (if outside of Lethbridge)
Online: Service request options