Community Stories

Size matters – cart size that is

November 27, 2018

Blue and Black Cart size selection continues until December 17

Blue and Black Carts are rolling out to Red Deerians in the spring of 2019 – but first, we need to find out what size carts you would like us to deliver.

The City of Red Deer’s full cart system includes a Blue Cart that replaces blue box pick-up and a Black Cart that replaces garbage pick-up. Blue and Black Carts will be collected every other week on alternating weeks and Green Carts will continue to be collected weekly. 

“Right now, we would like residents to let us know what size of cart will best meet their needs for garbage and recycling,” said Janet Whitesell, Waste Management Superintendent. “We are encouraging account holders to choose the smallest size that will meet the needs of their household, and keep in mind that Blue and Black Carts will be collected every two weeks.” 

Information packages have been delivered to utility account holders outlining all the options, and providing detailed information to help make the decision. Final choices will need to be made by December 17 to allow The City time to order all the carts and have them delivered to homes for the spring roll out.  

“We want to remind people that their Blue and Black Cart do not need to be the same size. Take a look at what waste you produce on a weekly basis, have a look at the information provided, and choose what will work best for you,” said Whitesell.

Jill Hanes and her family moved into a Cart Pilot Program home a little over one year ago, and has been working with the fully integrated three cart system ever since. With two small children in diapers, it can sometimes be a challenge, but overall they are very happy with the system and the amount they are able to divert.

“It’s awesome. It really made me realize what we can divert from the landfill, and are learning more everyday about what we can put into the Green and Blue Cart. It has just completely reduced our garbage, which makes me very happy,” Jill said. “Once we get both kids out of diapers, we will probably cut what we do put in the Black Cart in half, and move to the smaller size.”

Jill encourages residents to give it a try, and not to worry about the change. She says the carts are easy to use, store and hold so much more than you think. “They are easy to roll out, easier than my old garbage cans and blue boxes,” she said.

While residents may have some reservations about garbage being collected every two weeks, Jill says this has never been an issue for her family of four. 

“Try to look at your waste, and really figure out what can go where. If you use the Green Cart the way it is supposed to be used, it will seriously reduce the amount of garbage you produce – and the Green Cart goes to the curb every week,” she added. “All my stinky food waste, leftovers, paper towel and dog poop goes in there and not in my Black Cart.”

“I would say about 30 or 40 per cent of our Black Cart contents are diapers. We keep it outside, and I have not noticed a smell, even on the hottest of days,” she says. “Once both kids are out of diapers, I look forward to changing to a smaller size Black Cart, and seeing a reduction on my utility rate.”

By being able to choose the size of Black Cart received, residents have the opportunity to customize service. There will only be one charge on your utility bill that covers Green, Blue and Black Cart collection services. This amount will be determined by the size of Black Cart selected. 

Currently, residents are charged a flat rate of $21.72, which covers garbage, Green Cart and blue box on their utility bills. This rate is proposed to increase to $22.25 in March, due to normal inflationary increases. Starting in May, the rate will be based on Black Cart size selected. The rate adjustments work out to a $4 decrease for residents who choose the smallest Black Cart (changing from $22.25 to $18.25) or a $6 increase for residents who choose the extra-large Black Cart (changing from $22.25 to $28.25). A medium Black Cart would remain at the inflationary cost of $22.25. 

Inflationary rate adjustments would take place in March 2019 and the rate adjustments based upon Black Cart size would take place in May.

graphic showing how many bags of garbage fit in each size of Black Cart

But what will fit in these cart sizes? The diagram here shows an example of what will fit in each size for Blue and Black Carts. A small cart (120 litres) will hold about two blue boxes worth of recycling and one and a half standard size garbage bags. A medium cart (240 litres) will hold about four blue boxes worth of recycling or three standard size garbage bags. An extra-large cart (360 litres) will hold about six blue boxes worth of recycling or four and a half standard size garbage bags. 

Now that you know the sizes, what people think of them, how they affect utility rates and what goes in the carts - how do residents make their choices? All the details are in package that came in the mail, but essentially, residents can do nothing and we will choose the size to best meet the needs of the household, residents can go online through MyCity ( and choose there if they have their utility account added to their profile. If you received a postcard with your information package, it can be filled out and mailed back in, or you can give us a call on the Blue Line and tell us what you would like. 

“We want to make it easy for you to make your decision, take the opportunity to customize your Blue and Black Cart collection, and control your utility rate,” said Whitesell. 

All the nitty gritty about carts can be found online at, or feel free to give us a call and find out more at 403-340-BLUE.