Calgary: Do Your Part

There are many ways you can clean up your act to be more friendly to your environment.  With its numerous campaigns, workshops, and courses, Green Calgary (formerly Clean Calgary Association) is here to help.


Green Calgary (GC) is currently running several campaigns to help raise environmental awareness and to engage Calgarians.

Cell Phone Recycling Program

In partnership with Pitch-In Canada, GC operates a free cell phone recycling program.  Green Calgary receives 25¢ on the dollar for each phone collected.

Dump the Junk

No Flyers or Junk MailFlyers and other unsolicited mail are a common source of frustration for many people.  Green Calgary has vinyl-free stickers available to let your mail carrier know that you don’t want any unaddressed or unsolicited mail or flyers.  The stickers can be purchased for $2.00 at the Green Calgary EcoStore, as well as at Community Natural Foods, Elements – The Patagonia Store, and at Sunnyside Natural Market.  Proceeds go to GC.

Scent-Free Policy

If you’ve ever managed to make it through the cosmetics and perfume section of the Bay or Sears without choking to death or passing out from holding your breath, then you probably don’t need a scent-free policy.  While the problem has lessened over the past few years, there are still a great many of us who react negatively to artificial scents.

Green Calgary has adopted a scent-free policy and asks anyone (workers, visitors, volunteers, speakers, etc) visiting their office to refrain from using artificially-scented products.  One reason cited for such a policy is this:

Canadians spend upwards of 90% of their time indoors. Air quality indoors can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Fragrances are the most obvious indoor air pollutant, second only to tobacco smoke.

Indeed, I’m sure we’ve all worked with or been near at least one person who seems to bathe in perfume or cologne.  One 20-year-old I worked with insisted that she had to layer scents (bathe in at least two different perfumes).  This had the unfortunate consequence that people working near her could not breathe!

The University of Calgary also has a scent-free policy.  From what I understand, hospitals and clinics also implement such a policy, but I’ve been unable to find information on Alberta Health Services (AHS) website to that effect.  If you know of an official AHS scent policy, and where it can be found, please let me know via comments below.

Idle-Free Calgary

Idle-Free CalgaryAnywhere you go, it is very easy to find vehicles left idling for more than one or two minutes.  It seems obvious to me (perhaps not to others, though) that idling gets you nowhere – in more ways than one.  First of all, idling inherently means not moving, so there is no progress made in the journey.  But idling also gets you nowhere financially.  All you are doing is burning more fuel to go nowhere.  How does this make sense?  If you have to park and wait for someone for more than, say, a couple of minutes, then just turn off the engine.

I recently experience one of the worst traffic jams in my life while trying to leave Blairmore, Alberta after their Thunder in the Valley fireworks display.  We sat in traffic for more than an hour, not moving so much as a centimetre!  So the engine was turned off until the traffic ahead of us moved up.  I noticed that many other drivers were doing the same thing, but this was by no means a majority.  Leaving the engine running in such situations is a very effective way to ruin your fuel economy!  It also adds to nasty, toxic air pollution.

So, GC is running the Idle-Free Calgary Campaign.  You can buy a vinyl-free decal for your vehicle at the same locations as the No Flyer stickers mentioned above.  They are also $2.00, with proceeds going to GC.  The decal comes with a paper explaining the Idle-Free Campaign, and has a spot for you to sign the Idle-Free Commitment:

I/We _______________________ commit(s) to being Idle Free.  This means that I/we will not idle vehicle engines outside of traffic for more than one minute.

Of course, in Calgary (and likely many other cities) there are many traffic lights that have you stopped for more than a couple minutes.  Sometimes close to five minutes.  It is not unreasonable to kill the engine at these intersections, but make sure you can react quickly, and pay attention to the lights for crossing traffic lanes.  Also, it is not unreasonable to kill the engine when waiting for a train to pass.  Again, though, you need to be able to react quickly when the last car has passed, especially if you are at or near the tracks.


Green Calgary also offers workshops and courses for individuals, businesses, organizations, and schools.  Topics include composting, vermicomposting, home and work waste, green cleaning.  Courses are offered on permaculture and composting.  Check out the site for more information.


Green Calgary is located at:

809 – 4th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta  T2P 0K5

You can contact them by email at or by phone at 403.230.1443.

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