Commercial Food Waste Diversion Now Mandatory
All commercial property owners that provide space to a food service establishment must now provide for collection of food waste that is separate from garbage. All businesses and organizations that generate food waste must put their food waste into food waste collection carts or bins and not in the garbage.
Property owners can choose a private service or sign up for the Town of Canmore's Food Waste Collection Service. To sign up for the Town of Canmore's Food Waste Collection Service click here. More details on the program are available below.
These food waste requirements apply to a business or organization that serves, sells, dispenses, prepares, stores, or otherwise deals with food, drinks, or meals regardless of whether there is a fee for the food (e.g. restaurants, coffee shops, healthcare facilities, childcare and senior care facilities, rental halls, cafeterias, grocery stores, food manufacturing, breweries, etc.).
Mandatory Food Waste Diversion Frequently Asked Questions
I am a commercial building owner with a restaurant/food waste producing tenant. What do I need to do?
You need to provide a separate bin or cart for food waste and arrange for collection. You can use the Town of Canmore's Collection Service or another option of your choosing. You need to make sure the restaurant (or any business that produces food waste) is putting their food waste into the cart/bin you provide. The bylaw requires that food waste does not go into the garbage.
I am a café/restaurant/cafeteria/food manufacturing business owner. What do I need to do?
If you lease space in a building, your landlord needs to provide a cart or bin specifically for food waste. It is your responsibility to make sure that your staff are putting food waste into that container and not the garbage. If the cart is stored outdoors, it needs to be certified animal proof or resistant (the Town of Canmore's collection service provides these). You are responsible for ensuring that your staff are properly latching the cart so that animals can’t get into it.
I own/manage a hotel. What do I need to do?
If your hotel serves food (e.g. contains a restaurant, café or breakfast buffet) then you need to provide separate food waste collection. Visitor accommodations without food services are exempt. At this time, is not required that food waste from individual guest rooms be collected separately, though it is encouraged.
Why is the Town of Canmore requiring this?
Food waste makes up more than half of the garbage from commercial businesses in Canmore. Like recycling, diverting food waste is now expected in our overall approach to managing waste. When food waste is buried in a landfill it not only takes up valuable space, but it releases methane gas because it breaks down anaerobically (without oxygen). Methane is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and why diverting food waste away from garbage is essential to local climate action. Canmore is joining Banff, Calgary, and many other provinces and municipalities across Canada with similar bylaw requirements.
When will the bylaw updates be enacted?
The bylaw updates were approved in April, however, enforcement won’t start until the fall. This provides businesses and commercial premise owners a grace period to get food waste collection services set up.
What happens if there is food waste in my garbage?
Once enforcement starts in the fall, Municipal Enforcement officers will monitor based on complaints. It is understandable that some food scraps may get missed and still end up in the garbage, but if larger quantities of food waste are found in the garbage, or a commercial premise containing one or more food service businesses is not providing separate food waste collection, the Municipal Enforcement officers can issue fines.
If I already use the Town of Canmore food waste collection service, what do I need to do to be compliant with the bylaw?
Any business or commercial premise owner already enrolled in the service automatically meets the requirement to provide separate collection for food waste. Businesses are responsible for making sure that their staff aren’t putting food waste in the garbage.
I use the Town of Canmore’s food waste collection service, but I am paying for it. Does this mean that the landlord has to now pay?
The landlord is ultimately responsible to ensure that food waste is being collected separately from garbage. The arrangement for who subscribes and pays for the service can be negotiated between the tenant and the landlord.
What about bears?
Food waste carts/bins need to be certified animal-proof or animal resistant if stored outside or be in an animal proof enclosure. For carts stored outside, staff need to ensure they are properly latched at all times and that there is no food waste spilled on the outside. All garbage containers, recycling bins, and grease bins must also be always kept latched/secured and clean. Once grease or food spills on the outside of the bin it can become an animal attractant.
Town of Canmore Food Waste Collection Service
We will provide participating businesses with 240 L roll carts. We also have an animal proof option that can be stored outside (see photos below). You decide the number of carts you need and how frequently you would like them picked up. If you need an extra pick-up, you can contact us to arrange with 24 hours notice. Your scheduled pick-ups can be changed to account for seasonal variability.
Getting Food Waste Collection Started at your Business
- We will answer any questions you have and then arrange a site visit to determine where the roll cart(s) will be collected from. Please note that food waste roll carts will need to be stored indoors or in an animal-proof enclosure. If this is not possible, we have an animal-proof cart option that can be stored outdoors.
- Consider how and where you will collect your food waste. Will you keep your roll cart in your kitchen or store it in another area and use smaller bins to collect and transfer your food waste?
- Confirm your initial collection schedule with us and the number of roll carts you require.
- We will deliver the roll carts and educational materials for staff and customers.
- Collection will start on your chosen date. Remember, you can contact us if you need to change your schedule or request an extra pick-up.
The collection service costs $11 per cart pick up. The roll carts are included in the price, but you are responsible for any smaller bins you need to use. To view the full fee schedule click here.
Town of Canmore Collection Service Frequently Asked Questions
What can go into the roll cart for composting?
All cooked and raw food, including meat and bones, coffee grounds and filters, paper napkins, wooden stir sticks and chopsticks, and certified compostable take-away food containers. For restaurants, this means almost all of your waste can be composted instead of landfilled. We will provide an Accepted/Not Accepted list for staff.
How do I figure out how many roll carts and pick ups I need?
This will in part be dictated by how much space you have for the carts. We can advise you based on other restaurants that have food waste collection, however, it may need a few weeks to determine an ideal schedule. You can start by paying attention to how much garbage you are currently producing. Typically, a restaurant’s food waste is 50-80% of garbage. Generally, a 240 L roll cart holds about 100-150 lbs of food waste.
What are the dimensions of the roll carts?
240 L cart: Depth – 71.6 cm, Width – 61.6 cm, Height – 108.6 cm.
120 L cart: Depth – 53.5 cm, Width – 48.6 cm, Height – 95.5 cm.
240 L animal proof cart: Depth - 72.9 cm, Width - 71.2 cm, Height - 108.2 cm.
Won't the roll cart get dirty?
We will provide compostable bin liners. These liners will help keep the carts clean and prevent food from freezing to the inside. We will replace the bin liners in your cart each time they are collected.
How do I pay?
It is preferred that you set up pre-authorized payment. You will be charged on a quarterly basis for the number of pick-ups you had during the previous period. We can also invoice you if pre-authorized payment is not an option.
Where will my food waste go?
Collected food waste will go to the Canmore Waste Management Centre and then will be transferred to a compost facility north of Calgary.
Doesn’t all this driving just create more greenhouse gas emissions than composting?
Food waste and other organic material creates methane when buried in a landfill. Methane contributes to climate change much more so than carbon dioxide so the benefits of diverting food waste to composting far outweigh the impacts of any additional transportation required.
What about the added cost for my business?
Ideally, the cost for food waste collection will be offset by the decrease in garbage. For food service businesses there should be very little residual garbage after diverting food waste to composting. We understand that not all businesses pay for garbage collection directly or may be locked into contracts with waste haulers that will not allow for a decrease in garbage pick ups or bin sizes. Food waste diversion programs exist in many Canadian cities and businesses often participate because of their environmental values, staff attraction and retention, customer appreciation or other non-financial benefits. Costs can also be decreased by working to reduce the amount of food waste generated or by participating in food recovery programs.
Food Rescue and Food Waste Reduction
There are local opportunities for food rescue and recovery that compliment the Food Waste Collection program, potentially reducing the amount of food waste you are paying to have collected for composting.
Food Recovery Barn
Surplus food that you can’t use or sell can be brought to the Canmore Food Recovery Barn. Their mission is to recover edible food destined for the landfill from supermarkets and restaurants. They sort, display, and redistribute the recovered food, offering pickup for residents every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30-6:15 pm at the Valley Lutheran Church in Canmore for a $5 suggested donation. If you have surplus food that could go to people instead of being composted or landfilled, get in touch through Facebook @CanmoreFoodRecoveryBarn.