Commitment to the Environment

Commitment to the Environment

Like you, we believe that good transit service plays an important role in protecting our quality of life. We are always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact.

Here is what we're doing:



We apply the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) in many ways in our daily operation. 

Here’s some of the ways that we apply the three Rs to help reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill:

Recycling paper products

Our paper recycling program is one of our most important waste management systems. Each day approximately 140 kilograms or 300 lbs of paper is collected from the recycling bins on the bus and CTrain system. This is paper that’s collected from customers leaving them on our buses, CTrain and at bus stops and stations. In the last nine years we have recycled enough paper to save approximately 13,400 trees – that is enough to make 154 million sheets of letter size paper (8.5x11).

Battery recycling

We have made some improvements to help reduce the overall consumption of batteries. Most areas use rechargeable batteries, which not only cut down on waste but also reduce recycling costs. In the last nine years we have reduced the disposal of alkaline batteries by approximately 95 percent.

Aerosol can recycling

To reduce our use and disposal of aerosol cans, we use refillable pump spray containers for products that are available in bulk and recycle the cans that are not available in bulk form. In the last nine years Calgary Transit has recycled nearly 19,000 aerosol cans.

Fluorescent light recycling

Recycling fluorescent tubes is a costly process but helps keep mercury from entering and contaminating our landfills and groundwater. As we move towards using LED lights in our facilities, stations and vehicles, there continues a need to recycle fluorescent tubes. Since 2006 Calgary Transit has recycled approximately 58,500 fluorescent tubes which prevented the equivalent of approximately three kilograms of mercury entering the environment.

Grease mats

To reduce wear on the CTrain track and wheels at curves, grease applicators apply a lubricant to the wheels of the CTrain as it makes it way around the bend. Sometimes excess grease is applied to the track and surrounding area. To reduce the environmental impact of this, special grease mats are installed at each applicator to capture any excess grease to ensure the ground is not contaminated.


Reducing vehicle emissions is only one way that we are helping to improve the air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Here is what we are doing to help improve the air quality of our great city:

Vehicle idling

There are many benefits to reducing vehicle idling including; burning less fuel, reducing wear and tear on engines and reducing the overall impact on air quality. 

For years Calgary Transit has followed an idle-reduction program as a way to:

  • Save money by burning less fuel.
  • Reducing wear and tear on engines.
  • Protecting the health of the bus operators, passenger and the general public that are in the vicinity of the buses.
  • Reduce the overall impact on air quality.

The City of Calgary’s Vehicle Idling Reduction Policy (Green Driving Standard) states:

“City Transit vehicles will not be parked with its engine operating for more than 5 minutes unless it is essential for performance work. Exceptions are during an initial engine warm-up period in weather below-10 Celsius and during periods of extreme cold weather below-10 Celsius. When engines must be left operating, for any reason, the operator will remain with the unit.”

Some exceptions to the vehicle idling policy are:

  • In situations that may compromise the safety of operators, such as when parked in unlit areas.
  • During the buildup of air pressure for brakes and suspension.
  • For the operation of equipment integral to the vehicle
  • During cold weather conditions where temperatures fall below -10 Celsius

Wind-powered CTrain

Did you know that 100 percent of the electricity that we use is purchased from renewable sources? The CTrain runs off of this renewable energy and is the only LRT system in North America that uses wind-generated electricity to power the CTrain system.

LED lighting

We are currently in the process of upgrading all the lighting at our parking lots to LED lighting. These lights are brighter, last longer and save money and energy.


A great deal goes on behind the scenes to keep your buses and CTrain clean. Using a water recycling system at our garages is only one way that we reduce impacts to water quality and consumption. We track our yearly water consumption to ensure water is used efficiently. We do this by using water meters in all of our facilities. The use of these meters provides insight into where water is being used and can also help identify areas where we can improve.

Water recycling

Recycled water is most commonly used for non-potable (not for drinking) purposes, such as agriculture, landscape, public parks, and golf course irrigation. In our case, all of our facilities are equipped with recycled water bus washes. Our newest facility, Oliver Bowen Maintenance Facility, is also equipped with a recycled water CTrain wash, low flush toilets and efficient water faucets. Water recycling can reduce and prevent pollution by leaving damaging pollutants at the treatment plant.

Water conservation

There are a number of ways that we conserve our water usage. The use of water tanks (Cisterns) helps us capture rainwater for later use when watering outdoor plants and trees during summer months. We also have timers on our sprinkler systems to water at nighttime to reduce evaporation and save water.

Water consumption

We track our yearly water consumption to ensure water is used efficiently. We do this by using water meters in all of our facilities. The use of these meters provides insight into where water is being used and can also help identify areas where we can improve.