Image of a street with carts and recycling bags set out for collection.

What is the Green Routine?

The Green Routine is what we call our weekly waste collection services. Waste services include a curbside recycling program, organics and waste collection carts.

We also run special waste collection events at certain times of year such as extra yard waste collection and large item pickup.

You can read the full details of the Green Routine in our  or if you just want the basics, see our Quick Guide.pdf (2.5 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.


Organics go into your green roll-out cart. Use the small covered pail (green catcher) to collect organics in your kitchen, then transfer them to the large cart for collection.

What goes in the green cart?
Food scraps, soiled paper, coffee filters, plant materials, twigs, kitchen scraps, grass clippings

How much can I put out for collection?
All organics must fit inside the cart with the lid closed. Overfilled carts or materials left outside the cart will not be collected.

How often do I put my organics out for pickup?
Every other week (alternated with waste)
From mid-June to mid-September organics is collected every week


Waste goes into your black roll-out cart.

What goes in the black cart?
Aluminum foil, cleaning wipes, items made of two or more materials that cannot be taken apart (i.e. chip bags, granola bar wrappers)

How much can I put out for collection?
All waste must fit inside the cart with the lid closed. Overfilled carts or materials left outside the cart will not be collected.

How often can I put my waste out for pickup?
Every other week (alternated with organics)


Recycling goes into clear blue plastic bags only. Bags can be purchased at most grocery or home improvement stores.

What goes into recycling?
All items must be clean and free of food, liquids and dirt.

Clean items accepted:

  • Hard plastic containers or bottles. No lids or caps. (e.g. shampoo, detergent or condiment bottles; margarine or large yogurt containers; ice cream pails)
  • Aluminum and tin cans, pies plates and containers (clean and in original shape)
  • Wrapping paper (no foil); greeting cards (decorations removed)
  • Office paper, envelopes, craft paper
  • Magazines, flyers, newspaper, catalogues
  • Books with front and back covers removed
  • Cardboard, flattened (60 cm by 1 m or smaller)
  • Boxboard (e.g. cereal, cracker, cookie boxes)

How much can I put out for collection?
As many bags as you need. There is no limit.

How often do I put out my recycling for pickup?
Every week.


Green Routine questions

Only 36% of items found in the black cart are actual waste.


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. 

Image of an organics cart with a gold star sticker that says 'good job.'

Cart audits

How it works

On collection day the street team collect data points at each audited property, which includes flipping cart lids and checking blue bags that are set out for collection. They do not sort or take items out of the carts and pictures may be taken if contamination is an issue in one of the streams. They check:

  • That the carts and recycling are appropriately placed and spaced;
  • That materials are sorted properly and free of contamination to maximize diversion from landfill;
  • Whether the cart is broken and needs replacement;
  • For participation and set out rates, including number and types of containers/bags; and
  • Whether carts are overfilled.

The collection of this data allows us to:

  • Note necessary cart replacements;
  • Make collection more efficient as we can educate residents about spacing corrections and the proper preparation of materials;
  • Address common contamination materials through increased education;
  • Recognize households for their efforts; and
  • Reduce contamination and make sure we do not have to redirect materials to the landfill or pay extra processing costs for loads that are highly contaminated.

Audits allow us to measure the effectiveness of our program and help us target our marketing and education efforts. If you see our audit team out and about on the street, feel free to say hi or ask them about the program, they're here to help! If you have concerns or complaints please email us at


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Last updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Page ID: 39493