Improving our curbside services

For the past couple years, the City has been conducting surveys among Airdrie residents to gather feedback about our current curbside services (blue cart, green cart and garbage). When asked about top priorities or suggestions, many respondents expressed a desire to switch to an automated black cart system for garbage collection from our current manual garbage service, similar to how our current green and blue cart service works.

2023 Survey results

A five-question survey with a unique PIN was mailed to all households that receive curbside collection services and ran from May 23 to June 30. 6058 households completed the survey.

2023 Survey questions and results

71% of respondents were very interested and somewhat interested in an automated black cart program while 29% were very disinterested or somewhat disinterested.

  • Cost: 53%
  • Collection frequency: 45%
  • Reduced diversion: 45%
  • Cart storage: 34%
  • Collection days: 27%
  • Cart set out: 18%
  • Other: 15%
  • Technical issues: 10%
  • Physical concerns: 9%
  • Noise: 5%

Respondents had an opportunity to enter other concerns they foresee with a black cart program. The most common concerns were:

  • not all households produce the same amount of garbage and feel a one size fits all program would not be equitable;
  • having to manage a third cart;
  • cart sturdiness.

The concerns of those who are overall interested (very interested and somewhat interested responses) were compared to those who are overall disinterested (very disinterested and somewhat disinterested responses) in a black cart program.

  • Litter reduction: 73%
  • Easier on collectors: 65%
  • Choose your cart size: 56%
  • Cost savings for a smaller cart: 48%
  • Curb appeal: 47%
  • Frequency of pick-up: 26%
  • Reliable service: 20%
  • Other: 8.5%

Other benefits of an automated program identified:

  • potential to reduce the amount of plastic sent to landfill by not placing multiple bags into one large bag;
  • a black cart would be easier and more convenient to store and set out garbage.
  • I/my family would be interested to try a smaller cart: 42%
  • A smaller cart with a lower cost option would help financially: 38%
  • A smaller cart and lower cost option would motivate us to reduce garbage: 23%
  • We're doing all we can to reduce waste, still need a larger cart: 22%
  • Want a larger cart even if it meant a higher rate: 22%
  • I have a large household a smaller cart won't work at a lower rate: 12%
  • Other: 12%
  • We use excess bag tags and would prefer a larger cart: 11%
  • I'm not sure: 10%
  • I have renters/a secondary suite: 2%
  • I/someone in my family has a medical condition: 1%

Respondents had an opportunity to provide additional feedback in the “other” portion of the question. The most common response was:

  • respondents felt they need to know the collection frequency to determine the cart size;
  • want to know if they would still have the option to set out irregular excess waste;
  • have concerns about diaper and medical waste.

The comments from this section echoed what was heard in the previous questions; the most frequent comment was about the challenges with the additional cost and the benefits of reduced litter because of an automated garbage program.


  • Cost

    An automated garbage program could increase your utility bill by approximately $12 - $16 per year.*

  • Collection frequency

    Your collection schedule could change from weekly to every other week or could include a third collection day.

  • Employee safety

    Improvements on workers, reducing safety concerns (heavy bags, sharp material injuries, slips from ice or snow).

  • Storage

    An extra cart would need storage on your property and room on the street or alley for placement if two carts are collected on the same day.

  • Environmental

    Cart collection could reduce litter due to ripped garbage bags. Data does show from other municipalities that use black carts show they tend to send more garbage to landfill.

  • Reliable collection

    Having an automated system could reduce staff turnover from the physically demanding position. This could lead to more consistent pickups.

  • Quicker collection

    Automated systems could be quicker to collect as the containers would not be placed consistently on the same street and not in varied bags and containers.

  • Customizable

    Cart collection has the ability to choose your size of cart depending on your family needs.

  • Curb appeal

    Using carts instead of bags that could rip could increase curb appeal while storage of multiple bins could reduce it.

*Cost estimates for an automated program were calculated based on weekly collection, a 30% increase to garbage volumes and the cost to purchase carts.