Where and how to discard holiday waste

The holidays have almost arrived; it’s time to break out those comfy pyjamas, turn on your favourite Christmas movie and cozy up on the couch with a steaming cup of hot cocoa. Along with the holidays come presents, delicious food and generally more drinks, which all sound great, but also produce more waste than a regular week in the city. This year, the City of Calgary is here to help you reduce, reuse and recycle to make your Christmas season just a little bit more green.

When giving gifts this year, think of ways to produce less waste:


  • Instead of buying new wrapping paper, why not use newspaper, fabric bags or reuse gift bags to give your presents this year.
  • If someone gives you a gift in a nice bag with a pretty bow, consider keeping both for future gifts.
  • If you know you’re going to come home with leftovers, take a reusable container so that you can skip the tin foil and plastic wrap.
  • Instead of racking your brain for physical objects to give this year, purchase a gift card to experience, like an escape room, a day at the spa or movie tickets to be enjoyed in person.


After the festivities are over, now it’s time to deal with all that waste. To ensure all of your holiday waste goes in the right bins, here is a cheat sheet so you know how to deal with it properly:


Blue cart:

  • Wrapping and tissue paper
  • Any cardboard boxes – flattened
  • Holiday cards and envelopes
  • Paper gift bags – handles removed
  • Cookie and chocolate tins


Green cart:

  • Turkey carcass and bones
  • Plate scraps and all uneaten, spoiled food
  • Food-soiled paper, like napkins, plates, coffee liners, etc.
  • Sauces, like jam, butter, cooking oil, gravy, etc.


For a more complete list of what goes in which bin, visit the City of Calgary website here.


Cart collection days will be changing for the next few weeks to accommodate the holidays. There will be no collection on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day for residential households. If your cart collection normally falls on a Wednesday, it will be picked up two days prior for the following two weeks. Christmas Day pick-up will shift back to December 23rd, and New Year’s Day pick-up will shift to December 30th. If you would like to stay notified about all changes and receive reminders for your pick-up days, visit the City of Calgary website here.


Lastly, we want to help you dispose of your Christmas tree properly. There are two ways to send your tree off this holiday season:


  1. Use your green cart. Remove all Christmas decorations before cutting your tree into small pieces – four feet long maximum. The cart must be closed, so place any additional pieces in large paper yard waste bags at least one foot away from the cart.
  2. Drop off your whole Christmas tree at a temporary pick-up location between December 26-February 2. Remove all decorations from the tree and leave it at one of these drop-off locations.


We hope you enjoy a very merry, green Christmas this year!