Light Blue

Recycling Cart Wind Prevention Pilot

Modifying residential recycling carts to prevent litter issues due to the wind.


One of the major concerns we've heard from residents is that the stubborn southern Alberta wind blows their blue cart around. Curbside recycling does pose different challenges than garbage collection because the items are light and need to be loose in the cart rather than bagged. On a windy day, this could mean a tipped cart becomes litter. 

We understand this is a challenge in our community, particularly during the more wind prone times of the year. Our blue carts do meet industry standards which tests them to a wind tolerance of 60 km/hr - just another day in Lethbridge, right? Unfortunately, not many other municipalities experience wind like us and those that do also struggle for a good solution.

To help prevent litter from our unique wind situation, the City will be testing a variety of cart modifications. 


This pilot progam is on a volunteer basis. There will be no cost to the household to participate, you will only be required to fill out a short survey midway through the pilot and another one at the end. The pilot is set to run for a six-month term, with the possibility of an extension to test the carts in varying weather conditions. Residents wishing to do so, will be able to keep their modified cart at the end of the pilot, as long as no operational or significant user issues have arisen.

There is a limited number of modified carts available for this pilot. Residents will need to call 311 to request to be a participant and once the pilot is full, residents will be put on a waitlist. Waitlisted residents will be given priority if any modified carts become available or if the pilot is expanded. Given the expected demand for a modified cart, pilot residents who do not complete one of the surveys will be removed from the program and their cart will be replaced.

Should any significant operational or user issues arise, the pilot will be suspended at the City's discretion and all modified carts will be replaced.


The City has outlined two specific areas that will be the basis for the pilot. These areas were picked due to their severity of wind conditions and reported cart issues. Only residents within the selected areas will be allowed to participate.

To register, residents must:

  • Call 311 before March 19th at 4:30pm and request your household be added to the pilot.
    • Residents can only call for their own household and cannot register for their neighbours.
  • Supply the name that is listed on the utility account for their household
  • Supply an email address the City can reach them at in regards to the surveys and any changes that may arise during the pilot.
    • Residents will also be sent a copy of the report detailing how the program went after the pilot has ended.
    • As previously stated, any residents who do not complete the surveys will be removed from the pilot.
  • Supply a phone number if placed on the waitlist.
    • Phone numbers received will only be used to contact the resident if a cart becomes available or to be included if the pilot is expanded.

Residents may drop out of the pilot at any time however they will not be able to rejoin at a later date. Residents who are planning to move during the pilot may still participate. We just ask they contact the City, by calling 311, so we can change over your information.


Pilot residents

Two types of modifications will be tested as part of this pilot, Weighted Plates and Gravity Locks. Residents will be assigned a random modified cart and will not be able to switch it to the other during the pilot.

Once you have been approved, please place you cart out as normal on your next collection day and City staff will be by later that day to change out your cart. If you are registered as a pilot participant and your cart was not exchanged on your next collection, please wait until the following day to call 311 to notify City staff. Once your cart has been exchanged, residents will still need to follow regular Waste & Recycling guidelines for missed collections and any lost or stolen carts.

It is important to note, please make sure not to over stuff the cart or tamper with the modifications.  Urgent issues with your new cart, such as a jammed lock or a plate that has come loose, should be reported immediately by calling 311. All other issues and suggestions should be submitted as part of your surveys.


Surveys will be issued to all pilot residents midway through the program and after it has concluded. The goal of the surveys is to gather user experiences and get details on any issues residents might have had. While your email address will be required to submit your surveys, no personal information will be attached to the data collected or presented at the end of the program.

An email detailing further information will be sent out prior to the surveys becoming available. Links to each survey will also be listed below once they are open. All surveys will be completed online and residents will be given 1-month to complete each survey. If you require assistance filling out your survey, please call 311.

Weighted Plates

Weighted plates modifications are pieces of plastic and steel secured to your cart in varying locations. These plates are designed to prevent your cart from tipping over or making it more difficult for the lid to open on a windy day. Weighted plate carts can be filled as normal but please make sure the lid can close so the wind has less of a chance to get underneath and blow it open. 

Gravity Locks

Gravity locks are special locks that only open when a cart is tipped upside down in a specific direction. They are keyed or fitted with a thumb turn to allow access to the cart when it is in the upright position. Gravity locks will not stop a cart from blowing over, but they should keep the lid closed and stop the recyclable materials from blowing out. With the gravity locks, it is very important you do not over stuff your cart. This extra material can press against the lock and prevent it from opening during collection. Below is a video describing how the lock works in more detail and showing you how to use it.

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