Frequently Asked Questions










What are your hours?
We are currently closed until further notice due to COVID-19. You can still reach us for store purchases by calling 403-230-1443 x222 or by emailing

Where are you located?
#308 – 301 14th St NW

Do you have parking?
Paid and free street parking is available outside the Hillhurst Building's south door on 2nd Ave NW.

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How big is the composter?

30” W x 30” L x 34.25” H (70 gallon/265 litre)

How big is the rain barrel?

24” W x 36” H (55 gallon/ 208 litre)

How long is the hose kit?

24 feet

How many hose kits do I need when I buy a rain barrel?

One hose kit is all you need for multiple barrels.

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How can I lower my electric carbon footprint?

One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to purchase green energy credits, such as from Enmax, which will add green energy to the grid on your behalf.

What are simple changes at home to reduce energy use?

  • Replace lighting with LED light bulbs
  • Lower the heating by 1-2 degrees
  • Turn off heating when not home, or use a programmable thermostat

How can I reduce energy waste?

  • Boil only what you need in an electric kettle
  • Unplug unused electronics, or use a power bar and turn it off when electronics not in use


When water harvesting, how do I calculate how much water I will get from the square footage of my roof?

Ten inches of rain falling on a 1,000 square foot catchment area will generate about 6,000 gallons of rainwater!

Why should I get a rain barrel when I have water coming from my taps?

It costs money to get water from the tap, and the rain water is free. Tap water is also filled with chlorine.

How do I get chlorine out of my water?

Let it sit on the counter, open to the air, for 12 hours

Why buy barrels from Green Calgary?

Green Calgary is a charity, and rain barrels are one of our biggest fundraisers. Funds go towards programs to help Calgarians green the way they live, work, and play.

Additionally, our food grade barrels are supplied by a local family.

Why can’t I return my rain barrel?

We advocate conscious consumerism, as we are a charity, and this is a fundraiser.

Isn’t my rainwater dirty from my roof?

Soil in your garden is a natural filter, so the water does not need to be clean. However, if your roof has new asphalt, do not use a barrel for 2 winters after installation.

Why should I conserve water?

Conserving water helps put less stress on Calgary’s sewage and septic systems, which may help prevent contamination of groundwater. Further to that, conserving water helps reduce energy use and can save you money.

How can I conserve water?

Install a low flow shower head is one of the simplest methods for reducing your water demand. Similarly, reduced shower times can help significantly. Other options include: installing a low flow toilet flush and using a rain barrel to harvest water for gardening.

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How can I find a hauler to pick up my recycling?

If you are a business looking for a recycler to haul your recycling, please visit our recycler directory. If you’re a business or residential customer and are looking to recycle an unusual item that cannot be placed in your blue bin, please visit our speciality recycler directory.

Why can’t I put waste down the drain (medicine in toilet, garburator, tissue in the toilet etc.)

This puts unnecessary stress on our sewage system and can result in contaminated ground water.

I don’t want to buy compostable bags, what can I do?

There are a few options available:

  • Create paper bags using old newspaper
  • The green cart does not require the use of smaller bags
  • Green Lid is a compostable bin that does not require bags

My bag leaks when I empty my compost. What can I do?

We recommend you carry your kitchen catcher with you to empty the compost into your cart, rather than carrying your compost by the bag.

My compost stinks. What can I do?

Place your kitchen catcher in your freezer, and your odour problem will go away. The freezer prevents and slows decomposition, which is what causes the odour you’re smelling.

I don’t have money to buy a bin.

If by bin you mean a Blue/Black/Green Cart from the City of Calgary, please contact 311. If you're looking for a small bin for on your counter, under your sink, or otherwise, affordable "Kitchen catchers" are available for purchase at many retail stores such as London Drugs, Superstore, and even Green Calgary. You can also reuse any container with a lid like an ice cream pail. You can often get a free pastry bucket from bakeries, as well. The City of Calgary does not provide kitchen catchers for residents. See for more information.

What is better, burning or recycling paper?

Recycling, definitely. Reduce first! Burning paper results in both carbon dioxide emissions, but also particulate matter emissions. Particulate matter is a serious concern for health related to breathing. Recycling produces significantly less emissions, and helps save trees from being cut down to make new paper.

What is the difference between Biodegradable and Compostable.

Biodegradable is often placed on packaging as a form of “green-washing”. Most items are biodegradable, but “compostable” means something that will biodegrade in a composting facility. It is important that you look for compostable certification when purchasing products you plan to place in the green cart.

Is it better to recycle or compost used tissue?

Tissue and paper towel should be composted, not recycled. Tissue with blood on it, or chemicals such as makeup or cleaning products, should be placed in the black bin. Find out more at

What can I do with a pizza box?

The rule of thumb is to check if there is any food on the box. If the pizza box has grease on it, but no sauce/cheese etc., it can be recycled. However, if the box has food/cheese on it, place it in the compost.

Can I compost pet waste?

You definitely can. The City of Calgary asks that you bag all pet waste either in a compostable bag or a paper bag. Please do not place pet waste in a plastic bag in the compost.

What is the environmental footprint of recycling aluminum vs glass?

Recycling aluminum results in a much higher net negative emissions than recycling glass. See the chart below for a comparison of lifecycle emissions for various materials.

Source: Recycling Council of Alberta’s Summary of "Determination of the Impact of Waste Management Activities on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, 2005 Update" (by ICF Consulting for Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada)

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What is an environmentally friendly way to deal with a spider infestation?

If you are looking to get rid of spiders in your house, but don’t want to use harsh chemicals, place walnuts in problem areas. Additionally, you can use vanilla odours to help. The scent of both walnuts and vanilla bother spiders, and they’ll leave on their own.

Do I need to idle my car in the winter?

No, it is actually better for your car to drive immediately, as it warms up the engine more quickly.

Is there an alternative to windshield washer fluid?

Unfortunately, no there is not.

Is there an alternative to salt for clearing snow off your driveway?

Sugar beet juice is a recommended option. This will work similarly to salt without the negative environmental effects. The City of Calgary is actually piloting the use of beet juice publicly. Otherwise, kitty litter and sand can be added for traction. Sand will warm up in the sun and help melt the snow.

Where can I purchase environmentally friendly renovation items?

You can find environmentally friendly renovation items almost anywhere. We recommend you research specific brands before you shop.

What is a natural air cleaner?

Plants are a natural air cleaner; there is no need to buy a filter for your home!

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Are you part of the city?

No. We are a grassroots environmental charity that has been around since 1978. We collaborate with the City of Calgary to support some of their sustainability initiatives and to develop educational content that is relevant and useful for Calgarians.

Do you receive funds from the city?

Yes. Approximately 25% of our annual revenue comes from City of Calgary grants. The funds the City provides help us cover the cost of running our water conservation and waste reduction programs.

What charitable activities does GC undertake?

Our charitable purpose is to educate, inspire, and empower Calgarians to lead more sustainable lives. These are some examples of our charitable activities:

  • Delivering subsidized in-classroom presentations to children and youth on a variety of urban environmental topics
  • Delivering subsidized and free presentations and workshops to Calgarians on how to lead a more sustainable life
  • Operate a helpdesk to answer questions on urban environmental issues and sustainability
  • Offer free guides and resources to event greening, composting, rainwater harvesting and other urban environmental topics

 Why should I donate if I already purchased a product from you?

We appreciate all the contributions you make to support a greener Calgary.

The profit that we make on each product sale is thin and mostly used to cover our cost of operating our EcoStore. This is why we also seek for donations that can help us cover the costs of running our environmental education programs.

What are you fundraising for?

We are environmental charity and with your help we will create a healthier environmental future for all Calgarians.

Your support of Green Calgary enables us to deliver hands on environmental programming to green the way Calgarians live, work, and play. Our environmental work wouldn’t be possible without contributions from our donors, members, volunteers, and the Calgary community.

What would my donation achieve? / Why do you need my donation?

You are the hero at Green Calgary. You are the one making positive environmental change happen. You’ve taken the initiative to learn, to change, and to inspire your friends and families.

Your donation will help us create a healthier environmental future for all Calgarians by educating, inspiring, and empowering each member of our community to lead a more sustainable life.

Will I get a charitable receipt?

Green Calgary issues tax receipts for donations $20.00 and over unless requested by the donor. In order to get a tax receipt please provide us with your contact information (name, address, and email) when you are making the donation.

If you are making an online donation through Canada Helps or Benevity, the platform of your choice will generally issue a tax receipt for your donation regardless of the donation amount.

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