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Changes are coming to the way you sort and manage waste at home and at work.

On September 10, City Council approved the 25-year Waste Strategy.

What's in the Strategy?

The 25-year Waste Strategy will help the city reach its goal of 90% waste diversion from landfills. We’re bringing Edmonton into alignment with internationally-recognized best practices, putting more emphasis on waste prevention and waste reduction, and redesigning our services to help all Edmontonians play a bigger role in Edmonton’s zero waste future. 

The 25-year Waste Strategy has several transformative recommendations that we are actively working toward:

  • Adopt a Zero Waste Framework
  • Lead by example in implementing source-separated organics in City-owned and operated buildings, facilities and attractions

  • Introduce source-separated organics to the residential sector beginning with the citywide Edmonton Cart Rollout in spring 2021

  • Expand source-separated organics to the multi-unit residential sector and the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional sector 

  • Cease commercial collections (in progress)

  • Shift programming to support and inspire community-based waste reduction initiatives, including actions to limit single-use items

  • Participate in efforts to promote Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policies

Read the full reports.

What's next?

Our focus is on: 

  • The new cart-based waste system, which will roll out from spring to fall of 2021 to all single- unit homes and a number of multi-unit homes
  • Waste diversion programs and policies that will improve diversion in the multi-unit and Industrial, Commercial, Institutional (ICI) sectors
  • Waste reduction programs including actions to limit single-use items

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this a 25-year plan? Most action seems to be taken between now and 2022?

Change takes time. Taking a 25-year approach allows us to cater our approach to each sector in order to have maximum impact. The strategy outlines actions that will take shape over the next 7-10 years as new programs and additional processing capacity are brought online. Following this major period of change it will be time to assess and determine any adjustments needed as well as the next steps forward.

The next several years will be a period of transition for Waste Services, with changes focused on all customer sectors (single-unit residential, multi-unit residential and industrial, commercial and institutional sectors). The goal of transitioning to a new waste management system is to ensure Edmontonians receive maximum economic and environmental benefits and that the system achieves its goals of higher diversion and less waste overall, under a new zero waste framework.  

A 25-year plan also allows us to begin the shift towards better environmental sustainability as a generational shift. We’re setting the system up now to allow for greater innovation to be developed within it.  We know the shift towards zero-waste will be a gradual one and it requires behavioural changes for all stakeholders; residents, businesses and government.

What are diversion rates and why are they important?

A diversion rate is the amount of waste we collect or reduce that we can divert away from landfill. It represents the amount of waste that can be recycled, composted, and materials that are donated and reused, or used as “feedstock” (raw material to supply or fuel a machine or industrial process).

What's a Waste Hierarchy?

The 'Waste Hierarchy' is an internationally-recognized framework that ranks waste management options according to what is best for the environment. It gives top priority to preventing waste in the first place. When waste is created, it gives priority to preparing it for reuse, then recycling, then recovery and last of all disposal (for example, landfill).

It enhances the Zero Waste definition by providing guidance for planning and a way to evaluate proposed solutions.

What can I do in my household now to reduce waste?

Some easy waste reduction tips are to leave your grass clippings on the lawn, reuse items you currently own instead of buying more, set up a home compost and reduce your food waste. Composting is a great way to get involved with reducing waste now. In addition, we encourage you to maximize your use of the weekly recycling pick-up as the best way of ensuring materials which can be recycled are properly directed. Download the WasteWise app or use it online at to help understand what goes where. 

I currently live in a townhouse and receive curbside collection. How will my monthly utility rate be impacted by this bylaw?

As of January 1, 2020, all residents will be charged the same rate for hand collection from curbside or alley. If you are part of this bylaw reclassification, your new monthly utility rate will increase by approximately $3.38 per year through what is anticipated to be a five-year transition phase. This rate increase will apply in addition to any other citywide rate changes that are approved by City Council. You will receive a letter in the mail if you are part of the reclassification. 

As someone who lives in or manages a multi-unit property, how will I be impacted by the strategy?

Multi-unit residences in Edmonton experience unique challenges as compared to those in single-unit homes and will require a tailor-made solution. With that in mind, City administration is engaging with stakeholders in fall 2020 and winter 2021 in order to deliver a business case in mid-2021, with a target implementation starting in 2023.

As a business or institution, how will I be impacted by the strategy?

Edmonton's 25-Year Waste Strategy defines the City's target to achieve 90% waste diversion across all sectors, and recommends that the City mandate Source Separated Organics in the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) sectors to help reach that target.

As there is no regulated mandate for the City to provide these services, the City will take the lead as a regulator. This means setting a new rule structure or policy to require ICI sector businesses to participate in source separation. Administration completed research and outreach to other jurisdictions in 2020 to better understand the options to implement organic separation in the ICI sector.

The City will be engaging with stakeholders over the course of the next year and expects to present recommendations for an updated implementation timeline for the ICI sector in spring 2021.

Why is the City recommending ceasing commercial waste services?

The City has sought to impact diversion in the commercial sector through the provision of direct services, however this has not been an effective approach and the City’s impact has been minimal.  Thus, the strategy recommends that the city use policy and regulatory tools instead of directly competing for market share.  The City will still have a role to play in ensuring the success of a mandatory Source Separated Organics Program, providing rules, facilitating market development and providing resources and educational support. 

Why a single-use plastic ban or restrictions?

There is growing understanding that Edmonton, like many cities, has difficulty managing plastics and other single-use disposables. The City is not immune to the challenges of increasingly sparse recycling markets, and the sobering reality is that in Canada, only 11 percent of recyclable materials are actually recycled. Research shows that waste levels can be reduced through material restrictions and outright bans. However, both research and engagement data note issues and speak to cautions. 

The Strategy recommends a multifaceted approach, with restrictions and bans on some materials but ongoing support for development of recycling options, ongoing advocacy in support of Extended Producer Responsibility and maximizing what the city can process through our RDF production program (where final materials are used as feedstock for the Waste to Biofuels Facility or in other market opportunities. All activities should be pursued concurrently  in order to meaningfully manage these materials.

Future of Waste e-News

Subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive information about the new waste services strategies, potential changes to waste services and upcoming public engagement events. 

View past issues: 

September 2019
August 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018

Council Decisions

October 2020

Utility Committee accepted:

  • 2021-2024 Waste Services Business Plan
    Outlines how Waste Services will continue to make transformational impacts through the 25-year Waste Strategy, transform Edmonton’s collection operations, improve facility performance and encourage resident behaviour changes for the 2021-2024 timeframe.

 City Council approved:

  • Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) Renewal Business Case and Waste Services Supplemental Capital Budget Adjustment (SCBA)
    The Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) Renewal Business Case outlines recommended rehabilitations to the facility in order to improve processing of recyclable materials. The Waste Services Supplemental Capital budget adjustment supports the recommendation provided in the business case. 
September 2019

Utility Committee:

  • Reviewed 5 reports: Waste Strategy, Waste Transition Plan, Single Unit Waste Set-out Business Case, Waste Services Supplemental Capital Budget Adjustment and Waste Bylaw

  • Requested additional information in the Single Unit Waste Set-out Business Case

  • Recommended all reports to City Council for approval

City Council:

  • Approved all reports without discussion. 


Waste Strategy​​​​​​

Attachment 1 - Timelines and Past Motions
Attachment 2 - Edmonton 25-year Comprehensive Waste Management Strategy
Attachment 3 - Implementation Strategy
Attachment 4 - Program Action Plan
Attachment 5 - Elevated Enviro Report
Attachment 6 - What We Heard Report

Waste Transition Plan

Attachment 1 - Waste Services KPIs
Attachment 2 - Value for Money Infographic
Attachment 3 - Risk Overview

Single Unit Waste Set-out Business Case

Attachment 1 - Business Case

Waste Services Supplemental Capital Budget Adjustment

Attachment 1 - Capital Profile Report
Attachment 2 - Capital Summary

Waste Bylaw

Attachment 1 - Bylaw 18590
Attachment 2 - Summary of proposed Bylaw Changes
Attachment 3 - Waste Guidelines

February 2019

Utility Committee:

  • Reviewed the report called Citizen Feedback on Additional Residential Waste Diversion Programs, which included findings from last fall's Phase 1 What We Heard Report summary of public engagement results.  

City Council:

  • Approved a motion for Phase 2 Public Engagement to gather public input to inform a proposed Zero Waste framework, with final recommendations to be included in the waste strategy.  
  • Approved the Organics Management report, and recommendations and actions for the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Sector Strategic Review Report (non-residential sector).
March 2018

Several recommendations to help increase residential waste diversion were approved by Council, including:

  • Engaging Edmontonians on how grass, leaf and yard waste are collected
  • Introducing a source-separated organics program for kitchen scraps starting in fall 2020
  • Talking with Edmontonians about other waste program and service options
  • Reviewing our diversion rate calculations
  • Presenting options for a pilot project on source-separated organics
  • Presenting options for food waste reduction strategies
  • Updating waste policies
June 2018

Utility Committee approved two motions which may shape the new Waste Strategy:

  • Examination of single-use plastics policies and practices
  • Examination of Zero Waste policies and targets
August 2018

Utility Committee accepted eight reports from Waste Services, including:

  • 25-year strategic outlook and project overview
  • Alternative residential collection options for grass, leaf and yard waste
  • A Source Separated Organics pilot for residents
  • Strategic review of industrial, commercial and institutional sector
  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
  • Single-use plastics
  • Food waste reduction program strategies
  • 2019-2022 business plan

Utility Committee asked Waste Services:

  • To bring back further analysis on two of the grass and yard waste collection options at a future meeting
  • To conduct detailed engagement with the industrial, commercial and institutional sector as part of the strategic plan development
  • To bring back further information, analysis and recommendations on non-residential waste, EPR, single-use plastics, food waste and the results of the fall 2018 public engagement
September 2018

City Council approved the launch of changes to residential collection of grass, leaf and yard waste, along with an education and awareness campaign, beginning in the second quarter of 2019.  Participation in the changes will be voluntary until bylaw changes take effect in 2020.

For More Information


In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311


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