Some Calgary residents have a big blue bin for their recyclable materials, some take their recyclables to a depot, and for others it all hits the trash bin.

The City of Calgary is exploring a recycling program for anyone living in a multi-family unit, which is a five or more dwelling unit. By January 2016 residents should see a recycling option in their building.

“Number one this has been something that has been coming from our residents for quite some time, it has been for probably the last five years, so basically this is just a response to support a more convenient way for multifamily folks to recycle and specifically on-site recycling,” said Dick Ebersohn, strategic planning and policy leader for the City of Calgary waste and recycling services.

The proposal is to have building owners and landlords organize a recycling service to its residents through the private sector. The City would in turn provide communication, education, stakeholder engagement and ongoing monitoring of the program.

“So we investigated a number of options, we understood that number one they would like to see choice in the service provided to them, so everything from a limousine type of service where people would like to have their recyclables picked up at their front door to others where they just want to have it in the basement to throw all their recyclables in there,” said Ebersohn.

Out of all four sectors, the multifamily sector makes up about 13 per cent of waste going into the landfills, and currently about 17,000 tonnes of recyclable materials are hitting the landfills.

“The main reasons to support choice to residents is to have different types of services provided to them, and also put the contracts in these residents’ hands so they can decided on what to do, and the third point is looking at reduced cost,” said Ebersohn.

“From our public engagement that we have done with residents 93 per cent said that they support implementation of a city-wide recycling program, and 96 per cent said they would participate in a multi-family recycling program should it come into play.”

The first step was for a strategy for the multi-family recycling program to be developed, and taken to the committee for utilities and corporate services.

“They [utilities and corporate services committee] approved this strategy, and the strategy basically states that we will go forward, or this is the recommendation that we will design a multi-family recycling program, and that we will return to council with amendments to the waste and recycling bylaw no later than September 2014,” said Ebersohn.

Sometime in February the multifamily recycling program will be recommended to council, then the hope is to have bylaws going through in September, and then another 12-18 months for stakeholders to get things in order to offer recycling services, explained Ebersohn.

With a multi-family recycling program in place 110,000 more units will have the opportunity to recycle, meaning there will be an additional 9,000-12,000 tonnes of material being recycled.