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Black carts

During the Council meeting on April 17, it was decided that staff would conduct a survey with homeowners to find out if they support having an automated black cart program for garbage collection. This is part of the Council's focus on getting input from residents when making decisions. We are conducting a survey with homeowners who currently receive curbside (blue and green cart) services. 

A postcard was sent to all households with a unique PIN required to complete the survey. If you have not received your postcard contact the department and include your mailing address. 

Start Survey

Before you start the survey

Please take into consideration changes that could occur with an automated black cart program:
  • An increase to your utility bill by approximately $12 - $16 per year. Cost estimates for an automated program were calculated based on: weekly collection, a 30 per cent increase to garbage volumes and the cost to purchase carts.
  • Collection frequency could change from weekly to every other week.
  • Your collection schedule could change, which could mean adding a third collection day.
  • An increase to the amount of space on your property to store carts.
  • An increase to the amount of space on the street/alley to set out your carts if two carts are collected on the same day.
  • The potential for reduced diversion (sending more garbage to landfill) causing more of an environmental impact. Data from other municipalities that use black carts show they tend to send more garbage to landfill

The results of the survey and service level change recommendations will be presented to Council in the fourth quarter 2023.

Based on the competitive bid process for contracts and supply chain challenges, service level changes will not take effect until the second quarter of 2025.

Why are we considering black carts for garbage?

In 2022, a survey found that many residents want a black bin program. We also heard from collection companies about problems they have with picking up garbage bags by hand.

Challenges include:

  • Employee safety: When workers lift heavy bags, they could get hurt or poked. They could also fall on ice or snow. 
  • Less efficient collection: If people put their garbage bags in different spots or use containers, it takes longer for workers to collect it than with automated collection. 
  • Staff turnover: Picking up heavy bags is hard work and workers often quit. This leads to less consistent garbage collection.

What could a black cart program look like?

There are different ways the City could offer a black cart program. For example:

  • One cart size for all households.
  • Option to select a cart size that fits the needs of your household.
  • Different cart sizes at different rates; that is pay a lower rate for a smaller cart, or a higher rate for a larger cart.

Other changes

Other potential garbage collection changes could include:

Collection frequency Garbage collection from weekly to every other week week
Collection volumes The size and weight limit of the garbage bag 
Excess waste tags Currently, you may set out up to three additional bags each week by purchasing excess waste tags. Changes could include:
  • an increased cost to dispose of extra waste
  • size and weight limits of excess waste bags reduced
  • excess waste must be set out in a clear bag free of organic material and recycling