By 2030, the Town of Canmore seeks to divert 60% of our community's organic waste from the landfill, reduce solid waste by 40% per capita, reduce construction waste by 50%, and reduce commercial/institutional waste by 30%.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
By following this hierarchy, you can help cut down on the amount of waste that we throw away. First, try to reduce the amount of waste that you created. If you can’t reduce it, try to reuse it. Finally, if possible, recycle it instead of throwing it in the trash.
Reducing your waste is the first and most important step in the waste hierarchy. By reducing our consumption, we lower the demand for raw materials, energy use, water use, and ultimately the amount of waste that has to be sent to the landfill or recycling that has to be processed. Some easy ways to start reducing the amount of waste you produce include:
Avoid disposable single use products like plastic shopping bags and bottled water. Take reusable shopping bags to the store with you. Invest in a reusable water bottle and enjoy our cold mountain water from the tap.
Use rechargeable batteries and a charger. Remember to properly dispose of all batteries at the Boulder Recycling Depot. Don’t throw them in the garbage: batteries contain heavy metals and toxins need to be disposed of properly.
Do you really need all that paper? Sign up for electronic billing, and cancel junk mail.
Food donations and food recovery
Surplus food is a valuable resource, but significant quantities of edible food are thrown out in the Bow Valley. Food waste is also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions from landfills. Taking stock of the food you already have, making a meal plan and using food before it expires will save you money and reduce your waste. You can also help reduce edible food waste by dropping off or picking up food at:
The Bow Valley Food Bank: Accepts donations of non-perishable food at drop boxes located at Safeway and Save-on-Foods in Canmore. The Food Bank offers emergency food assistance to individuals and families in need.
The Canmore Food Recovery Barn: Collects surplus food from local grocery stores. Food is distributed every Tuesday at 5:30pm and Thursdays at 7pm at the Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church near the Canmore Hospital. If you're in Banff, check out Banff Food Rescue.
Don’t dispose of unwanted items that still have usable life in them. Give them a second life and share them with others. Or, instead of buying new, purchase some previously-loved items and make use of them yourself. Reusing is a great way to extend the life of our resources and to save money as well.
Shop for a wide selection of used items or donate your extra goods to Crossway Community Thrift Store
For buying or selling outdoor gear, check out Switching Gear Sports Consignment
Pick up or drop off gently used household items at the Re-Use It Centre in Banff
Daycares and schools accept donations of books for annual book sales, supplies for arts and crafts, paper for drawing, furniture and office supplies
There is an active market for buying, selling, and trading used goods in the Bow Valley, with seasonal equipment swaps, garage sales, and internet sites and groups. Check for garage sales in the local newspaper, on kijiji.ca, or just look for the signs in your neighbourhood!
Seasonal Gear Swaps and Sales
Some of the local sports clubs and stores in Canmore offer annual gear swaps and sales (in exchange for a commission fee or store credit). These can be a great way to buy or sell some quality used gear. Check out:
Rundle Mountain Bike Swap
Canmore Nordic Ski Club Ski Swap
Banff Alpine Racers Ski Swap
Rebound Cycle/Unlimited Tent Sale and Bike Swap
There are a number of local websites and Facebook groups dedicated to buying, selling, or exchanging items. Accessing these groups may require registering for account (to limit non-local or spam postings). Some of the popular local groups and sites include:
Bow Valley Freecycle (donate or pick up free items)
Kijiji Banff/Canmore (buy or sell items)
Pass It On (pass along items others might need)
Facebook Buy and Sell Groups (there are a number of active groups including Canmore Buy and Sell, Canmore-Banff Buy and Sell, and Bow Valley Buy, Sell, Give, Take)
Bow Valley Gear Loft
Canmore Climbing Loft
Bow Valley Women's Clothing Swap
Facebook Marketplace (will also facilitate cross-posting items on multiple groups)
Recycling is the final step in the waste hierarchy, before disposal in the landfill. While recycling is a great way to recover valuable resources, it is still an expensive and energy intensive process. So try to Reduce or Reuse before Recycling.
The Town of Canmore and the Bow Valley Waste Management Commission offer a wide array of programs for recycling, waste diversion and resource recovery. The Town of Canmore has installed animal-proof blue recycling bins beside many of the brown neighbourhood garbage bins. You can separate your recycling and deposit it in one of these neighbourhood animal-proof recycling bins, or bring it to one of several community recycling locations (see below) that offer additional recycling options.
The Town of Canmore provides lots of details about recycling on its website, and the Bow Valley Waste Management Commission has produced a handy guide to residential recycling in the Bow Valley.
Community Recycling Locations
There are two permanent recycling facilities and one refundable beverage facility in Canmore:
Save-On-Foods Depot: At 950 Railway Avenue (Canmore Crossing), open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A selection of common household recyclables such as metal food cans, glass, cardboard, paper, and plastic are accepted at this location. Please clean and separate recyclables into the appropriate bin.
Boulder Recycling Depot: At 115 Boulder Crescent in the Elk Run Industrial area, open 8 am - 5 pm, 7 days a week. Recyclables such as metal food cans, glass, cardboard, paper, and plastic are accepted at this location, along with the following materials:
Used oil and glycol (antifreeze) products and containers
Fluorescent light tubes and ballast
Household hazardous waste
Electronic waste – computer equipment, televisions, cell phones, and other household electronic items.
Canmore Bottle Depot: At 103 Boulder Crescent in the Elk Run Industrial area, open 9:30 am - 4:30 pm, Tuesday – Saturday. The Bottle Depot accepts refundable beverage containers such as aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles, tetra-paks, milk jugs and cartons.
Additional Garbage and Recycling Programs
The Town of Canmore and the Bow Valley Waste Management Commission operate a number of additional programs for garbage, recycling and waste diversion, including:
Christmas trees: Seasonal disposal of Christmas trees (decorations removed) is available until mid-January at the Boulder Recycling Depot, Quarry Lake parking lot, Benchlands Trail lower parking lot, and the 17th Street/Fairholme pull out.
Yard waste and brush: Yard waste and other materials such as leaves, grass (no soil or invasive weeds), and brush may be dropped off at the Boulder Recycling Depot between April and November. These materials are transported to the Francis Cooke Landfill and Resource Recovery Centre in Exshaw to be chipped and used as mulch or composted.
Dry waste: For a fee, the Francis Cooke Landfill accepts construction, renovation and demolition waste, tires, asphalt, concrete, appliances, cardboard, concrete, metal, pressure treated wood, scrub and brush. Where possible, these materials are diverted from the landfill and reused for other purposes or recycled.
Flying Pigs Recycling: This private business offers commercial and residential pickup of recyclables for a fee.
GARBAGE AND Wildlife
Bow Valley residents share the land with grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, cougars, coyotes, and other wildlife. As a result, curbside pick-up of household garbage and recycling is prohibited in Canmore. Outdoor composting of food waste is also prohibited. When wild animals access garbage or other non-natural food sources, they can become habituated and aggressive towards people. This creates a public safety concern and these animals often have to be relocated or euthanized.
Since 1998, Canmore has operated a system of animal-proof garbage bins, including both large neighbourhood bins and smaller pedestrian bins. The installation of the animal-proof bins has significantly reduced the number of bear and garbage incidents in the community. Place your garbage and recycling in neighbourhood animal-proof bins, or bring it to one of several community drop-off locations. Smaller pedestrian garbage and recycling bins are provided on sidewalks and pathways throughout the town.
Living smart with wildlife is our responsibility. Visit wildsmart.ca to learn more about what you can do.
Thanks to Christian Dubois, Christopher Vincent and Charlie Bredo for their help in preparing these materials.