Carts FAQ

Cart collection begins the week of May 6. Blue and Black Carts will be picked up every other week, on alternating weeks. Green Carts will continue to be picked up weekly.
green cart blue cart black cart



Why did the City introduce a Blue and Black Cart program?

Consistent with the Environmental Master Plan (EMP) and Waste Management Master Plan (WMMP), the program helps reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill by diverting organics and recyclables. Also, the new collection system increases efficiency and worker safety and helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Can I opt out of the Blue and Black Cart program?

No, households are unable to opt out of the program. Our new collection trucks are only able to pick up garbage and recycling that is contained in a cart. If garbage and/or recycling are set out for collection without being in a cart, it will not be picked up.

When were the Blue and Black Carts delivered?

Blue and Black Carts were delivered to the front of homes between March 18 and April 18. A detailed
education package was attached to the carts to help residents get acquainted with the program.

Do all households in the city receive carts?

No, the cart system (Green, Blue and Black Carts) replaces manual collection so only households that already had this service use carts. Multi-family properties that have their waste collected in larger dumpsters will not receive carts. 

When did cart collection begin?

Blue and Black Cart collection began the week of May 6; on your regular collection day in the same location you normally place your waste (front street or back alley). The information you received with your cart will explain which cart will be picked up that first week.

Will recycling set out in a blue box or garbage set out in a garbage can or garbage bag continue to be collected?

No. After May 6, 2019 recycling must be set out for collection in a Blue Cart and garbage must be set out in a Black Cart to be collected.

What if one of my carts is damaged or stolen?

The City will replace, at no charge, carts that are broken, vandalized or go missing. To report a missing or damaged cart email us at or call the Blue Line at 403-340-BLUE (2583).

Do I set out all three carts for collection every week?

No, set out only two of your three carts. Your Green Cart is collected every week and your Blue and Black Carts are collected every other week on alternating weeks. Check the calendar delivered with your Blue and Black Carts or online at for which two to set out each week.

How will I keep track of which carts are picked up when?

Residents will receive a colour coded calendar to make keeping track easy. The calendar can also be found online at Residents can also sign up for weekly text, phone or email notifications through Notify Red Deer (

Can I still choose the size of my cart?

No, cart size selection has closed. If you would like a different size of cart, there will be an opportunity to change in the fall.

New residents will have the opportunity to choose their Blue and Black Cart size when moving in.

Can I request a different size for my Black and Blue Cart?

In December 2018, utility account holders were asked what size of Black and Blue Cart they would like. The number of each size of cart The City purchased was based on that feedback. We ask residents to try and use the carts delivered for about three or four months, and if after that time they still wish to switch, give us a call and we will review options.

What are the cart size options?

Blue and Black Carts are collected every other week on alternating weeks and Green Carts are collected weekly.

There is only one charge on your utility bill that covers Green, Blue and Black Cart collection services. The amount is determined by the size of Black Cart selected only. Your Green, Blue and Black Cart do not need to be the same size. 

120 litres - holds 2 blue boxes of recycling or 1 ½ regular garbage bags
Monthly utility rate if you select a 120 litre Black Cart: $18.25
Graphic showing how much garbage a small cart will hold 
240 litres - holds 4 blue boxes of recycling or 3 regular garbage bags
Monthly utility rate if you select a 240 litre Black Cart: $22.25 
Graphic showing how much garbage a medium sized cart will hold 
Extra Large:
360 litres - holds 6 blue boxes of recycling or 4 ½ garbage bags
Monthly utility rate if you select a 360 litre Black Cart: $28.25
Graphic showing how much garbage an extra large sized cart will hold 
Will there be a new charge on my utility bill for the Blue and Black Carts?

Starting in May, your utility rate will be based on the Black Cart size you received. Your Blue Cart size has no impact on utility rates. The rate adjustments work out to a $4 decrease for residents who received the Small Black Cart (changing from $22.25 to $18.25) or a $6 increase for residents who received the Extra-Large Black Cart (changing from $22.25 to $28.25). For those with a Medium Black Cart the rate will remain the same at $22.25.

How do I set the carts out for collection?

Carts are picked up by an automated collection truck, so it’s important to follow the collection instructions:


Set out by 7 a.m. on your regular collection day, year-round.


Make sure the lid is closed and place the carts on flat ground with at least one metre clearance all around and above each of them so the truck’s collection arm can pick it up and empty it. This includes ensuring both carts placed that day, and any extra yard waste has the same clearance so the automated trucks can access it. If the collection contractors are unable to properly access your carts, they won’t be able to collect the contents that week, so placement is an important step.


Front street collection: Place the carts on the street with the wheels against the curb and white directional arrow pointing toward the street. Make sure the carts are away from parked vehicles or other obstructions such as trees, and that it is not blocking traffic.

Back alley collection: Place the carts with the wheels toward your property and white directional arrow pointing toward the alley. Make sure the carts are not placed against a fence or garage, and that it is not blocking traffic.

Make sure to roll your carts back to your property after they have been emptied.

Is my collection location changing?

No, we learned from the cart pilot project that cart collection works in back alleys and the front street. Households will have their carts collected from the same location as their garbage, recycling and Green Carts are currently collected. Blue and Black Carts are being delivered to the front of homes so we can accurately record the cart serial numbers delivered to each house, but if your garbage is currently  collected in the back alley, so will your new carts.

Will cart collection change in the winter?   

Carts will continue to be collected weekly, year round from your current collection location. If the snow or snow clearing makes it difficult for the collection trucks to get through or empty the carts, The City will work with the collection contractor to find solutions. If you have front collection, and your street has a windrow where you would have normally placed your carts, please place your carts in a snow cleared area, like a driveway, for collection.

To prevent organics from freezing in colder months, place your Green Cart in an area shielded from the weather (i.e. garage). If this is not possible, you can prevent organics from freezing to the bottom by lining the bottom of the cart with newspapers, pizza boxes, leaves or a certified compostable bag. Lining the bottom of the cart can also help keep it tidy and manage odours.

Can I leave my cart outside my back fence or on the front street all the time?

You are required to store your carts on your property between collection days. You can store it inside your garage or garden shed or outside in your yard or up against your house or fence.

How can I identify my carts if they get mixed up with my neighbours’ carts:

When you receive your new carts, please write your address in the white space on the side of the carts with a black, permanent marker. As well, each cart has a unique serial number specific to your address. You may want to take note of your carts’ serial numbers.

Where can residents find out more information about carts?

Residents are encouraged to visit for more information. Residents can also call the Blue Line at 403.340.BLUE to speak with City staff about the program or email

Phone: 403-340-BLUE (2583)

Blue Cart Details

What goes into the Blue Cart?

In general, you can recycle paper, cardboard, metal cans and plastic containers #1 through 7.

  • Plastic containers labelled with a #1-7 (e.g. plastic bottles or containers like peanut butter, condiments, shampoo and detergent bottles)
  • Cardboard and boxboard (cereal, shoe and tissue boxes)
  • Clean pizza boxes
  • Newspapers, magazines, junk mail and mixed paper
  • Metal cans (e.g. soup and coffee cans)
  • Clean foil pie plates and serving trays
  • Shredded paper – must be in a clear plastic bag

Exceptions: Glass bottles and jars. Be sure to drop them off at the glass recycling bins at recycling drop-off depots. Plastic bags, food wrap and bubble wrap go in your Black Cart.

If my Blue Cart fills up, what can I do with my extra recycling?

Recycling set beside, or on top of the Blue Cart will not be picked up. You can always drop off extra recycling at a community recycling depot at no cost. You can hold onto extra recyclables until the next scheduled pickup day. 

What should I do with my Blue Box now that I have a cart?

Keep your old blue box, and use it to store and transport recyclables to the Blue Cart or use it for general household storage. If your blue box is no longer usable, it can be recycled at a community recycling depot.

What about shredded paper?

Shredded paper must be contained in a clear plastic bag and then placed in the Blue Cart. This is to ensure that it will not spill out onto the road during the pickup process. Another option for shredded paper is using it like newspaper, pizza boxes or leaves to line the bottom of your Green Carts to help prevent organics from freezing to the bottom of the cart in the winter.

What about cardboard?

Place flattened cardboard in the Blue Cart. Extra cardboard may be taken to a community recycling depot. Any cardboard left beside, under or on top of the Blue Cart will not be picked up.

Black Cart Details

What goes into the Black Cart?

The Black Cart is a new way to set out your garbage for collection. Pretty much everything that doesn't go in your Green (organics) or Blue (recycling) Carts can go in your Black Cart including:

  • Styrofoam packaging and food trays
  • Disposable diapers
  • Plastic bags, food wrap or bubble wrap
  • Gift wrap, tissue paper and ribbons
  • Wet wipes and cotton swabs
  • Disposable coffee cups (paper or Styrofoam)
  • Parchment paper, tinfoil and waxed paper
  • Ceramics, broken dishes
  • Multi-material packaging (e.g. chip bags, frozen food trays, deodorant, toothpaste tubes and pet food bags)
  • Unnumbered plastics (e.g. toys, dishes and cutlery)
  • Straws
  • Non-refundable tetra packs
  • Diseased branches and noxious weeds

Exceptions: Household hazardous waste, paint, batteries, electronic waste and fluorescent lights must be dropped off at the Waste Management Facility for proper disposal. Details can be found on the Waste Management Facility webpage.

If my Black Cart fills up, where can I put my extra garbage?

Garbage set beside, or on top of the Black Cart will not be picked up. You can always drop off extra waste at the Waste Management Facility for a small fee, or if possible, you can hold onto excess waste until the next scheduled pickup day.

Can I place any kinds of bags into the Black Cart?

Yes, any garbage bag you currently collect your household garbage in can be placed into the Black Cart for collection.

What do I do with my old garbage can?

Both plastic (if labelled #1-7) and metal garbage bins can be recycled at a community recycling depot. You could also use them for setting out extra yard waste once your Green Cart is full, or for storing items like garden tools.

Green Cart Reminders

What can I put in the Green Cart?

Check for the full list of acceptable Green Cart materials. In general, you can place yard waste, all food scraps (including meat and cooked foods), and pet waste (including kitty litter) in your Green Cart.

Pet waste can go in the Green Cart?

Yes. Pet waste, including animal droppings and kitty litter, can be placed in your Green Cart. The high temperatures reached during the composting process will kill any harmful microorganisms. Pet waste can go into compostable bags, paper bags or wrapped in newspaper before putting it in the cart or can go directly into the cart.

What about yard waste?

Food scraps and pet waste should fill up your Green Cart first. Then yard waste can go inside, including grass clippings, leaves, small tree trimmings and garden waste. Place any extra yard waste only in garbage cans, or in paper yard waste bags or small branched tied in bundles with string, the same way you would have normally set out yard waste in the old yard waste collection program. Be sure to place any extra yard waste one metre away from your carts on collection day. 

Should paper and cardboard be put in my Green Cart or Blue Cart?

Clean paper and cardboard should go into the Blue Box so it can be recycled into new paper products. Food-soiled paper and cardboard, such as paper towels and greasy pizza boxes should be placed in the Green Cart.

What if I already use a backyard composter?

Backyard composting is the ideal method for diverting your household organic materials from the landfill. However, not all materials are suitable for backyard composting. Meat, fish, bones, cooked foods, pet waste, and dairy products are not suitable for a backyard composter but these materials can be placed in the Green Cart. We encourage you to continue your back yard composting.