Green Routine - waste services
Utilities services remain operational
In light of recent direction received from public health authorities in Alberta on COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus), Strathcona County has implemented additional preventative measures to limit the spread of infection and, ultimately, to keep our employees, customers, community and visitors healthy and safe. strathcona.ca/covid19
Utilities will continue to operate essential services (water and sewer services, waste collection and the Community Energy System) during this time.
Please note: Our main office at 370 Streambank Avenue is closed to the public. Any questions can be directed to 780-467-7785 (water and wastewater) or 780-449-5514 (waste).
Customer billing will close to the public beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, March 20. Call 780-464-8273 for assistance. Residents facing financial hardship can request a 3 month deferral of their utility bills. For more information strathcona.ca/bills.
If you require assistance with a sewer backup please be aware that staff may be wearing additional personal protective equipment for their safety. strathcona.ca/sewerbackup
Broadview Enviroservice Station is closed until further notice. www.strathcona.ca/broadview
What is the Green Routine?
You can read the full details of the Green Routine in our 2018 Waste Collection Handbook (2.5 MB) or if you just want the basics, see our Green Routine waste services quick guide. (6.2 MB)
The Green Routine is also available as an app. You can set waste collection day and special event reminders, locate a recycle station, search how to dispose of hundreds of materials in the waste wizard, and get important service notifications.
Learn how to start or stop waste collection services for your property.
Green Routine FAQs
1. Why do I need to separate recycling and organics?Permanent link to Why do I need to separate recycling and organics?
Sorting materials is a major step in reducing the amount of material Strathcona County sends to the landfill. The Green Routine has the potential to divert up to 89 per cent of waste.
Waste now has to travel further away, meaning higher transportation costs. By moving to a system that recycles and composts a large amount of waste, we are able to minimize rate increases as transportation costs rise.
By having you separate organics, waste, and recycling we are able to reduce our waste collection service fees, saving money for customers and the county.
2. Where are the sorted materials sent to?Permanent link to Where are the sorted materials sent to?
Households are asked to sort their waste into three streams because the contents go to three different places.
- Organics materials are sent to a regional organics processing plant. The organics will decompose and, in time, become nutrient-rich soil that will be used in landscaping and land reclamation projects.
- Recyclables are sent to a local material recovery facility. Recyclables are broken down to make new material or products. For example, some plastics are used to make fleece and paper is used to make new paper products, such as egg cartons.
- Waste is sent to the Roseridge landfill.
3. Why can't I just use my garburator for organic materials?Permanent link to Why can't I just use my garburator for organic materials?
We do not recommend using your garburator.
- Kitchen scraps disposed using a garburator end up at the wastewater treatment plant where they are removed and sent to the landfill because the material is no longer suitable for composting. This not only increases the amount of materials being sent to the landfill but also increases wastewater treatment costs.
- Over time organic material will collect in the pipes and lead to sewer backups.
- Garburators use extra water, so you will be paying for the extra water you use to flush the organic material down the sink and the extra wastewater that is leaving your house.
4. What can I do to prevent odours coming from my waste bins?Permanent link to What can I do to prevent odours coming from my waste bins?
Here are some tips for preventing odours:
- Store your carts in a shaded or covered area
- Layer your organics in the cart. Place a layer of paper or newspaper on the bottom, then alternate layers between wet waste and dry waste.
- Add a small amount of baking soda, salt, vinegar or powdered detergent (without bleach) around the lips, vents and at the bottom of the cart
- Wrap wet or smelly organics in newspaper, paper bags or soiled boxes
- Use a compostable bag for organics. Make sure the bag is compostable (not biodegradable or plastic)
- Rinse your cart regularly during summer months
- Put your organics cart out on its proper collection day even if you only have a small amount
- Rinse recyclable containers
- Use a regular black garbage bag in the waste cart
5. My grass clippings don't fit into my organics cart. What do I do with them?Permanent link to My grass clippings don't fit into my organics cart. What do I do with them?
There are several options for managing your grass clippings:
- Your best option is to grasscycle or mulch. Grasscycling is a natural and easy process that saves time and money. Simply leave the clippings on your lawn as you mow. They will quickly decompose, usually within three days, and act as a natural fertilizer to the soil. They will also help retain moisture in your lawn, so you don't have to water as often.
- Another option is to put grass clippings into a backyard composter. Dry clippings briefly before adding them to the compost pile. Alternate layers of grass clippings with leaves or other organic materials.
- You may also bring clippings to the Broadview Enviroservice Station.
6. What kind of bags should I use for the different materials?Permanent link to What kind of bags should I use for the different materials?
The only bag required for the program is the blue bag used for recycling.
Optional bags include:
You can put waste materials into regular green or black garbage bags.
Organics can also be placed into compostable bags, which are made out of a vegetable-based product that breaks down during the composting process. Plastic or biodegradable bags are not accepted as they do not break down and will contaminate the composting process. Contaminants increase processing costs.
You can find these bags at most grocery or home improvement stores.
7. My family already uses a backyard composter. Should I stop using it?Permanent link to My family already uses a backyard composter. Should I stop using it?
We encourage you to continue your backyard composting. However, it is important to know that the green organics cart can take many materials that cannot be handled by the typical backyard composter including:
- baked goods and bread
- cheese and dairy products
- fish and fish remains
- meat products and bones
- oily, fatty foods
- sauces and spreads
- soiled paper
- toothpicks and popsicle sticks
- paper napkins, plates and cups
- soiled tissue
- soiled pizza boxes
These materials will not properly compost in a backyard pile and some can even attract unwanted pests.
Reduce and reuse before you recycle
It's important to start rethinking your Green Routine. Did you know the three R’s of recycling (reduce, reuse and recycle) are in order of priority? Before you recycle, try to reduce and reuse first. Here are some simple steps you can take to cut back on waste and your use of plastics:
- Reduce your use of single-serve containers (e.g.: items such as plastic forks, straws and take-out containers)
- Buy products with less packaging
- Bring cloth bags with you when you shop for groceries
- Plan out your meals. Try this simple meal planning worksheet (829.7 KB)
- Take reusable coffee mugs and water bottles
- Pack waste-free lunches. For more ideas click here.
- Buy items second-hand
- Fix what you can before replacing items
- Donate items you no longer use to charity
- Keep recycling to ensure valuable materials are being collected
- Follow the most current recycling guidelines to ensure raw materials are going to the right place and being processed into something new
Global changes to recycling
There's been a global change to recycling
How we recycle in Strathcona County is part of a global recycling system. Recently, this system changed. In January 2018, China started placing restrictions on the recycling materials it collects from North America, which is limiting the available markets for some recycling materials. With the restrictions, North American processing companies and municipalities must produce a clean, uniform stream of recycling. This also means the materials we put out for recycling must be well cleaned and free of contamination.
It's time for Green Routine 2.0
Global changes have an impact on how Strathcona County, and all municipalities in Alberta and across North America, are recycling. The list of items we can put in our blue bags has changed. This is because we can’t risk entire batches of good recycling material going to landfill because of contamination. It is not sustainable to have the processor try to sort these items if they remain in our blue bags. Their technology and staff cannot catch every piece of contaminated material or small bit of plastic film.