Town of Banff Roadmap Summary


What is the Circular Economy? | Why Circular Communities?

PHASE ONE | Banff Roadmap | Calgary Roadmap | Edmonton Roadmap | Lethbridge Roadmap | Strathcona Roadmap


In January 2020, representatives from the Town of Banff consulted on how to foster a circular economy, keeping products and materials circulating at their highest utility and value, through waste prevention, improved design, reuse, recycling, remanufacturing and innovative business models.


Cultivate Banff’s uniqueness

while embracing opportunities to enhance economic health, diversity of lifestyles and ecosystem. And above all, continue to build on the town’s rich heritage as a source of enchantment and renewal for others … always.

Banff is an internationally popular tourist destination with a small town feel and close proximity to nature. As the town is located within a UNESCO World Heritage site and Banff National Park, it has a unique mandate and commitment to sustainability. It has a well-educated resident base, and a young population eager to support environmental initiatives. Banff representatives are willing to ‘do the right thing,’ and place value on environmental leadership, protecting wildlife and wilderness, and keeping the community pristine.

Key Takeaways

What’s already underway?

As it is located within a national park and has a special commitment to sustainability and environmental protection, the Town of Banff has already made significant progress. Banff already generates less than half the waste per capita in comparison to the rest of Alberta, and has these existing circular programs.


food rescue

Picks up and receives food from grocery and retail stores that would normally be sent to landfill. Residents in need can then access the food.

Re-use-it Centre | Drop-off or pick up gently used products for free
Residential food scraps bin | Residents can drop off food waste at bins around town
Plastic grocery bag recycling | Safeway collects bags for recycling and will replace their reusable bags if broken
N-Viro bio solids waste recycling | Processed at the wastewater treatment plant, nutrients are harvested and used in landscaping and agriculture
Christmas tree and pumpkin collection | Diverted for environmentally friendly projects or composted
Banff Marathon | After significant diversion starting in 2018, the event is now zero waste. It uses green renewable energy to power the event, sustainable advertising, provides free public transportation, a virtual event bag, bio-digestible cups, and a sorting station at the event.


Ideas & Knowledge

Consultation involved Town departments including: community development, community and environmental services, communications, facilities, operations and planning, parks, resource recovery, zero waste education, transportation, and finance.

How do we explain circular initiatives to tourists from all over the world?

Let’s figure out how to share the resources we have!

Social media can help us to get the word out.

We can make resources go further by building smarter.

The Town has opportunities to communicate with international tourists as well as Parks Canada and the federal government. Challenges include educating tourists with different languages and norms, and limited opportunities for development due to space constraints.

The young population of Banff has a culture of strong social ties within the community, and is eager to take on more environmental and economic initiatives towards circular operations.


What are potential actions?


Create a central location with space for community sharing

Community Hub

A flexible space in downtown Banff could house multiple initiatives available at various times of the day and night. Include services such as a repair shop, food rescue, a tool library and workshop. Enhanced infrastructure could include gray water collection, rooftop gardens, shareable fridges, maker spaces and sport eqipment and library access.


A Circular Banff of the Future would shift to a sustainable transit model

Transport Systems

Develop regional transportation to connect Calgary, Canmore and Banff through a rail system and electric buses. As well, create systems to share cars and bikes, expand the bus network, and improve connections to the gondola.


Lead by example | As the ‘conference capital of Canada’ Banff has an opportunity to become a showcase municipality to promote the circular economy
Involve residents| Residents can act as program ambassadors to help spread the message
Promote environmental businesses | Encourage sustainable efforts by providing a tourist map showing business locations
Leverage tourist appreciation of nature | Outline expectations for taking environmental responsibility
Broadcast actions | Make effective use of signage and social media

“The roadmap developed for Banff identifies unique actions we can take in our community to become more circular by design, all of which present strong environmental, social, and economic benefits.”

Carla Bitz | Town of Banff

Learn about circular initiatives in action

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

& Other Resources

This foundation has created an online suite of resources that can help cities transition to a circular economy. Fact sheets, policy levers, networks and case studies are all available.


Explore other communities


RCA’s Circular Cities Project | Circular Cities Initiatives | Banff Roadmap | Calgary Roadmap | Edmonton Roadmap | Lethbridge Roadmap | Strathcona County Roadmap

Alberta Government logo

We thank Alberta EcoTrust and The Alberta Government’s Community Environment Action Grant for your support of this project.

The Circular Cities project supports the RCA’s primary mission to promote, facilitate and advocate for a Circular Economy in Alberta through waste reduction and resource conservation. For more information contact us or call 403.843.6563.