Food Waste Collection Pilot Program

One of the goals from the 2023 to 2032 Waste Management Strategy is to develop a food waste collection pilot program. By including food waste to the current yard waste collection program, should the pilot program be successful, the City can expand to a city-wide organics collection and composting program.

Photo of a food waste compost bucketThe food waste collection pilot program involves nearly 4,000 participating residents located in 15 waste collection routes throughout the city.

Beginning in April 2024, one kitchen bucket for collecting food waste items will be delivered to the participating residents with detailed instructions and information for the pilot program. The pilot program will continue through December 2024 to evaluate its success. 

The pilot program routes were chosen based on the top 3 routes with the highest participation levels in the yard waste collection program from each of the 5 collection zones.

Take our survey!
What do you think about curbside food waste collection? We want to hear from you! By participating in this survey, you will have the opportunity to share your initial thoughts about the creation of a full-scale food waste collection program. You can also choose to be entered to win a $250 prepaid Visa card!

Pilot Program Survey

Eligible participants

Map of food waste collection routes

To participate in the pilot program, a resident must:

  • be a current participant in the City’s seasonal yard waste collection program by having a green organics cart, and
  • be located within one of the 15 waste collection routes selected for the pilot program.  

Refer to the City’s iMap to determine if your collection route has been chosen to participate in the food waste collection pilot program! 

icons of various foods and vegetation

The set-out guidelines and collection day for the households participating in the food waste collection pilot program remains the same as with regular yard waste collection simply with the addition of food waste! Plus, the green organics carts in the pilot program routes will continue to be collected until the end of December 2024. 

Download the Recycle Coach App or refer to the posted Waste Collection Schedule to find out when your next collection day is. 

It is important to note that only participants in the pilot program routes dispose of food waste in their green organics carts. Residents in the remaining routes in the City are asked to continue to adhere to the original set out standards for yard waste collection, ensuring that only acceptable yard waste materials are disposed of in the green organics cart if you are not included in the Food Waste Pilot Program.

Toss it in

The green organics cart is now being used for food waste collection in addition to yard waste collection!

Participating residents are encouraged to follow the standards for yard waste material disposal with the addition of acceptable food waste items. 

 

Food soiled paper products
  • Food soiled paper towel, paper napkins and used tissues
  • Paper liners and paper bags
  • Parchment paper
Kitchen and food scraps
  • Coffee filters, coffee grounds and tea leaves

  • Dairy and dairy substitutes; cheese, butter (removed from packaging) 

  • Eggs and egg shells

  • Fish, shellfish, seafood and shells

  • Fruits

  • Meats, poultry and bones

  • Raw and cooked, spoiled and unspoiled food

  • Table scraps and leftovers

  • Vegetables 

Yard waste materials
  • Grass clippings (no sod)
  • Leaves
  • Plant trimmings and cut flowers
  • Residential house and garden plants (no pots)
  • Twigs, branches, and tree limbs up to 2in (5cm) in diameter and 3ft in length (no elm trees)
Other materials
  • Food soiled flyers and newspaper
  • Wood shavings and sawdust in paper bags
  • Wood popsicle and wood stir sticks

Leave it out

Not all household/kitchen items are accepted for composting, nor can all types of yard waste materials be accepted in the green organics cart. 

Please note this is not a complete list of all possible items requiring disposal. Download the Recycle Coach app or contact 403-529-8176 for more information. 

 Items for your grey waste cart
  • Animal waste and kitty litter
  • Clothing, fabric, bedding materials in disrepair - consider donating gently used items
  • Diseased branches and noxious weeds
  • Dryer lint and dryer sheets
  • Fire pit, fireplace and BBQ ashes - never place hot ashes in your grey cart
  • Hygiene products including diapers, wipes, and sanitary products
  • Paper towels or napkins soiled with cleaning products
  • Plastics without a number identifier - even if it says compostable, plastic cannot be accepted for composting
  • Medications - consider returning to a pharmacy for safe disposal
  • Styrofoam
  • Waxed paper products
Items for your blue recycling cart
  • Aluminum and tin
  • Clean cardboard
  • Clean paper products
  • Plastics 1 - 7

Please refer to medicinehat.ca/recycle for additional information. 

Items for the recycling depot
  • Beverage containers eligible for a deposit refund can be returned to a Bottle depot
  • Glass 
Items for the Waste Management Facility
  • Animal hides and carcasses - contact the scale house prior to arrival
  • Construction and demolition materials
  • Metal
  • Painted /treated wood
  • Rocks, gravel, soil and sod
  • Vehicle oil

Please refer to medicinehat.ca/landfill for additional information. 

What to do in between!

Refer to these helpful tips and reminders when preparing your food waste for disposal in your green organics cart!

  • We know that food waste and kitchen scraps can be smelly. Reduce unwanted odours by:
    • Freezing or refrigerating food wastes such as dairy/dairy substitute products, food oils and grease, meats, and bones. Toss frozen food waste items, removed from packaging, in your green organics cart the night before collection.
    • Wrap smelly foods in newspaper/flyers or compostable paper bags.
    • Sprinkle baking soda in the green organics cart and kitchen bucket.
    • Empty your kitchen bucket into your green organics cart often between collection days - we recommend every 2-3 days if you're noticing unwanted smells in your kitchen. 
  • Line the kitchen bucket and/or green organics cart with newspaper to help keep them clean and prevent contents from freezing inside the cart in cold weather.
  • Please no plastic bags – even if it says “compostable” or “biodegradable”. Our composting process does not break down compostable or biodegradable plastics which can lead to contamination of the final compost product.
  • Ensure carts are set with enough space between them for collection. Remember, if you can walk between the carts then there should be enough room for each collection truck to empty the carts. 
  • Continue to put clean paper products in your blue recycling cart, but any food soiled paper can be placed in the kitchen bucket for organics collection.  
  • Soak ashes with water and place cooled off ashes inside a paper bag for disposal in your grey waste cart. 

To ensure a successful pilot program and continued success of our composting operations, please only place acceptable organic materials in the green organics cart. 

Frequently Asked Questions

For common food waste questions, visit Food Waste Pilot FAQ.