Calgary’s new garbage program charges for extra trash

Extra bags of garbage will now come at a price, according to the city’s tag-a-bag program, which kicked off Thursday.

Elias Tomaras, with the city’s waste and recycling services, says rubbish that won’t fit in your black cart will have to be tagged for pick up.

The tags cost $3 each and they do not expire.

“It’s kind of like a luggage tag for a suitcase,” Tomaras told the Calgary Eyeopener.

“Basically, on collection day you just place it about a half a metre to the side of your black cart and then your driver will just pick it up.”

However, the bags can’t be too large or too heavy. 

Tomaras says it should be a 75-litre bag and weigh no more than 20 kilograms. Essentially, if it can fit in your black cart and you can lift it with one hand, it should be fine for pick up. 

“So, instead of having to go all the way to the landfill, then you can also just buy these tags and set it out beside your black cart. So it’s just meant to be sort of a flexible additional option,” he said.

Tomaras says this program will actually save Calgarians money in the long run since only around four per cent of households currently set out extra waste.

“As a result of the tag-a-bag program rolling out this year, we had held the (garbage) rate for 2020 to the same as 2019,” he said.

“Instead of basically making everyone pay for extra waste that’s being set out — because there is a cost to it — we were able to just recover those costs now through the tag-a-bag program. So it’s really just a more fair and equitable way of handling any extra garbage.” 

As well, there’s no added fine for an extra garbage bag that’s not tagged. Tomaras says in that scenario, the driver just won’t pick up the extra garbage.

The tags are available at Calgary Co-op, Circle K stores and the city.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

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