Council approves new policy to divert waste from landfill

City Council today approved a new policy to reduce unnecessary waste going to landfill, that will work towards meeting provincially mandated diversion targets and increasing participation in recycling and green bin programs.

The new policy will allow residents to put out three garbage items every two weeks

  • A garbage item can be a garbage bag, a 140-litre container or bulky item. Households can put several smaller bags in containers up to 140 litres.
  • There will continue to be no limit to how much residents can set out through curbside recycling and green bins.

Currently, 85 per cent of households are setting out three or fewer garbage items bi-weekly; this recommendation focuses on the remaining 15 per cent of Ottawa households and aims to drive up their diversion efforts.

Staff will look into leveraging its existing Yellow Bag Program to permit residential properties receiving curbside collection flexibility to purchase and set out additional bags. Council also approved a third-party review of its waste-diversion data to ensure staff has the best possible information to support decisions for its Solid Waste Master Plan.

This policy is part of a multi-pronged approach to reduce the amount of waste requiring disposal and extend the life of the Trail Waste Facility landfill, which could reach capacity in 13 to 15 years. The City will consider medium- and long-term options, including alternative technologies, as part of the draft Solid Waste Master Plan this fall.

Staff will report back to Council with an implementation and communication plan before the new program begins, no later than Q2 2024. This report will include strategies to address challenges and mitigate risks, and a comprehensive plan to guide residents through the change.

Council received an update on the transition to the new Provincial Blue Box Program, in which producers will be responsible for collecting and processing recyclable materials from eligible sources. The City will transition to the new program beginning on July 1, 2023, with the transition period ending on December 31, 2025. The City has negotiated an agreement with Circular Materials Ontario to continue collecting recyclables on producers’ behalf throughout the transition period and residents will see no change to their usual curbside recycling service.

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