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Waste survey

Between Jan. 20 and Feb 15. 2022, City of Airdrie Waste & Recycling Services completed a survey to learn about resident's challenges with our current programs (green carts, blue carts and garbage) and how you think we could improve our services. We received 2209 responses. 

The survey had four sections:



To understand where there may be confusion, we asked, how do you dispose of the following items?

ITEMPercent correctCorrect disposal location
Paper coffee cups (Tim Horton's, McDonald's) 47% Blue cart
Pet waste (feces, litter, cage shavings) 85% Green cart
Toothpaste tubes 90% Garbage
Furnace filters 83% Garbage
Chip bags 82% Garbage
Meat trays 72% Garbage
Garden hoses 62% Garbage
Plastic cutlery 46% Garbage
Plastic toys 27% Garbage
Clothing (t-shirts, pants, shoes) 87% Donate/Recycle Depot
Batteries 83% Recycle Depot
Charging/electrical cables 71% Recycle Depot
Packaging Styrofoam 51% Recycle Depot

Plastics are challenging to dispose of because there are so many different types. In your blue cart, only recycle clean, hard plastic containers that have the recycling symbol and number on them and stretchy plastics bundled and tied together in a transparent bag.


Motivations, barriers and habits

Knowing people's motivations, barriers and habits in waste management can inform effective outreach efforts and lead to more sustainable behaviour. This information helps us tailor our education and address challenges to promote waste reduction, recycling and composting. 

We asked a series of statements and asked if you agree or disagree with them. 

What we heard - Blue cart:

StatementAgreeDisagreeNeither agree/disagree
I feel confident the items I put in the blue cart are recycled into new items 50% 25% 25%
If I am not sure that an item is recyclable, I toss it in the garbage 71% 21% 8%
If I have a cardboard box with plastic (i.e. a toy box) I will put the whole thing in the blue cart 51% 43% 6%

What we learned:

  • be more transparent in our messaging about what happens to material after it's collected
  • more education about what is and isn't recyclable
  • more information on how to prepare things before putting them in your blue cart

What we heard - Green cart:

If I am not sure that an item is compostable, I toss it in the garbage 61% 31% 8%
I don't have space in my kitchen to collect food waste 21% 74% 5%
I feel confident the items I put in the green cart are turned into a reusable end product 66% 11% 23%

What we learned:

  • increase awareness on what is compostable
  • help create alternative ways to collect food waste
  • provide more information on what happens to materials once collected

What we heard - Garbage:

When shopping, I consider the amount of garbage an item will create 24% 58% 18%
I feel I am doing all I can to reduce the amount of garbage I produce each week 71% 16% 13%
I typically have more material than will fit in the allowable garbage bag 22% 70% 8%

What we learned:

  • more education on things to consider at the store
  • refocus on reduce waste and reusing what you have

Feedback on current programs

Over 80 per cent of respondents agree that the  City has made it clear what goes in the green cart, blue cart and garbage.

When asked if they feel the City offers comparable services to other cities, 74 per cent of respondence agree Airdrie does for the green and blue cart. Only 39 per cent of respondents feel the City of Airdrie offers comparable garbage services to other cities. 

Staff will be reviewing its programs for all curbside services. 


General feedback

Respondeds were given an opportunity to provide open and honest feedback. 

Question one asked: If you were in charge of the department for Waste and Recycling Services, what would your top one or two priorities/changes be?

Stacked graphic with 'black carts' being the tallest tier with a star, middle tier being 'education' and lowest tier being 'litter'

Question two asked: How convenient do you find the green and blue carts, in terms of storage, use and reliability?

blue and green cart with 67% of respondents saying "convenient, easy to use" with four stars

Waste and Recycling Services will return to Council on the proposed date of April 17 with more information about alternative garbage programs.