Solid Waste Master Plan

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The City is developing a new Solid Waste Master Plan, to be completed in 2023. The plan will guide how we manage solid waste over the next 30 years. As Ottawa grows and changes, we want to ensure our waste services evolve to meet new needs and challenges. This page will be your hub for updates and opportunities to provide feedback.

Nothing has been decided yet – your input counts!

Managing solid waste is a shared responsibility, and every resident has a part to play. That’s why, over the next two years, we need meaningful conversations with you to help ensure the new Solid Waste Master Plan works for everyone.

The City is developing a new Solid Waste Master Plan, to be completed in 2023. The plan will guide how we manage solid waste over the next 30 years. As Ottawa grows and changes, we want to ensure our waste services evolve to meet new needs and challenges. This page will be your hub for updates and opportunities to provide feedback.

Nothing has been decided yet – your input counts!

Managing solid waste is a shared responsibility, and every resident has a part to play. That’s why, over the next two years, we need meaningful conversations with you to help ensure the new Solid Waste Master Plan works for everyone.

Do you have a question about the curbside garbage collection options or solid waste master plan?



If you have any questions on the curbside garbage collection options, Solid Waste Master Plan or the engagement process, please feel free to ask your question here. We will answer all feedback and questions within five business days. Please note if questions are specific, they will be answered via email and you must have an Engage Ottawa account to ask a question.


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    Are you certain that diverting organic waste from the landfill is a good idea? Doesn't the presence of organic waste speed up the decomposition of other waste in the landfill? In your response, I would expect you to cite research studies or scientific articles on this question, and how this is informing an evidence-based policy. Thank you.

    JMF asked about 1 month ago

    Thanks for the question. 

    Decomposition in the landfill is anerobic (low-oxygen) and much slower than aerobic (standard oxygen present) decomposition.  Decomposition in a low-oxygen environment also increases the amount of methane produced.  Methane is a substantially more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.

     

    Disposing of greater quantities of organic matter in the landfill reduces the landfill’s capacity, increases odour management requirements, increases the production of methane, and increases the amount of leachate (liquid landfill waste) to be managed.  Further, the composted organic waste can be beneficially reused, whereas anything placed in the landfill cannot.

     

    Inorganic materials such as plastics take somewhere in the order of 400 -1000 years to decompose in the natural environment, the presence of organic material is unlikely to speed up this process in a meaningful way.

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    The proposal seems to be focused on dispensing a certain number of garbage bags per household. However, this seems to be counter-intuitive as it is introducing MORE plastic to the landfills. Can the plastic garbage bags be replaced by your standard hard-plastic garbage bin? If yes, this presumes there will be a standard size that is acceptable. What sizes are being considered in the plan?

    Griff asked about 1 month ago

    Thanks for the great question. We are currently exploring a bag based system as an opportunity to implement in the short term to help support increased recycling and organics diversion.  We know through our waste audits that many Ottawans use plastic bags today as a means to contain their waste, even if they use waste bins to take their waste to the curb, so we are not anticipating a bag based policy to significantly increase reliance on the use of bags to contain the waste.  

     

    Cart based collection and transitioning to an automated cart collection system are still being considered in the Master Plan as opportunities to build on any of these policy options in the medium to longer term - stay tuned for more engagement this fall. Given Ottawa’s unique makeup, some older denser neighbourhoods where automated collection may be difficult, winter weather conditions, and accessibility factors, as just as a few examples, we will likely require piloting of a cart based system to ensure it could be properly implemented across the city. Also, any decision to move to a cart based collection system will need to align with future collection contracts and fleet turnover as specialized equipment is required on the waste trucks to accommodate it - hence why we will explore it in the medium to long term to build on any policy we consider for a bag based system today. 

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    The survey is unclear about what is included in the garbage bag count put to the street every week. On the garbage day every two weeks, we have one garbage can, then the green bin, two recycling bins of plastic and metal, and then 2-3 bags of yard waste at this time of year. So, is my garbage count 1? Or 7? I certainly hope the former and that organics and recycling are NOT included in the garbage bag count. Would like to know as this shapes my response to the survey.

    Griff asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for the feedback. This is a similar comment to another post we received earlier and we will be adding a clearer definition of "garbage" to the survey. Yes, your garbage count is one item. 

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    I just completed the survey. I found a lot of challenges with the survey itself, key of which is that it is not clear (at least to me) if the recyclables and organics (green bin and yard waste bags) are included in the garbage bag count going to the curb. There needs to be a very clear distinction between these two. I don't consider organics and recyclables to be garbage. It is recycling! On garbage day (every two weeks), my count would be 1 if just garbage bags. It would be up to 5+ if you include the two recycling bins (two weeks of collecting blue or black), green bin and then yard waste bags at this time of year. Can you please update the survey so that it is more clear where and how recyclable and organics are included in the garbage counts. Still have a month more in the survey and the results will be skewed if this issue isn't resolved quickly.

    Griff asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for your question. "Garbage" and "waste" can be interchangeable, for some, but, for the purposes of this engagement series recyclables and organics are not considered "garbage". When we mention "garbage" we are dealing with that portion of the waste that cannot be placed in the recycling or organics "waste" streams. Thank you for this comment and we will add a more clear definition in the survey.  

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    Why is plasmafication ( turning waste into electricity) of garbage not a viable option or alternative (vs burying waste and poisoning ground water for generations) for our city? Byproducts of this process such as off-gassing could be treater with high tech scrubbers etc…

    MatthewT asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for your feedback. While plasmafication is not specifically mentioned as an option, the City is looking at new and emerging technologies to manage the residual waste stream, which this type of technology would fall under as it is not yet commercially proven on the municipal waste stream. These are described in option 7A4 – Emerging Technologies. All options, including emerging technologies, are currently being evaluated for their suitability to meet the city’s future needs. Those that are identified as being most suitable to meet these needs will be consulted on in the fall.

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    What does Pay-as-you-throw mean? Will we be charged/taxed for the items we throw out?

    TylerKentOrleans asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for your question. With the partial pay-as-you-throw option we’re exploring, your garbage is treated like your gas and hydro use – residents pay for garbage based on how much they create. Each household is allowed to set out a certain number of garbage items every two weeks, and any household setting out above this limit can purchase garbage tags for each additional item, as needed. So, there’s flexibility to dispose of extra waste, if and when you need it. 

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    Why are we always talking about household waste as if it is the only contributor to our landfills? Can we talk about commercial waste? There's WAY less diversion there. And I like how the video just dismissed any sort of technological solutions as "Ugh! That costs money...am I right? So back to what all of YOU are doing wrong..."

    MatthewD asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for your feedback. We recognize your concerns around how commercial waste generation is contributing to filling up our landfills. The City of Ottawa is focused on engaging with stakeholders on residential/household waste management programs as this is the waste stream that municipalities are responsible for managing. Industrial, Commercial & Institutional (IC&I) waste falls under provincial, not municipal, jurisdiction. As a municipality, the City of Ottawa has very little authority to impose requirements for waste management on the IC&I sector.

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    In reading through the Q&A, I note that "Waste diversion services are funded through the tax base and are based on the value of the property". Please explain to me what relevance the value of a property has with this fee or numerous others the City applies. Attaching service fees to property value is just a blatant cash grab. I and other taxpayers would like to see the background studies that have been done which leads to the conclusion that if your home is worth more you produce more solid waste.

    Cumberlandjames asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for your question. The below explanation from the "Current State' technical memo, that was developed during Phase 1 of Waste Plan development (and can be found on Engage Ottawa) should help clarify. 


     In July 2005, Council approved the implementation of an alternative method to fund solid waste management services to achieve transparency of costs and fairness in the funding of the program and to increase the incentive to divert materials from landfill. The new funding model enacted two different and distinct methods of funding City solid waste management services:

     

    • waste diversion/recycling costs continued to be funded by all City of Ottawa tax classes from the assessment based tax bill; and,
    • costs for residual garbage collection and landfill disposal fees would be funded only by residential and multi-residential properties through the implementation of a uniform flat fee (the Solid Waste User fee). 

     

    The principles behind this new funding methodology were: 

     

    • In support of environmental stewardship and sustainable landfill, waste diversion costs are shared by all tax classes; 
    • Residual garbage collection costs are imposed on benefiting users only, as identical charges for identical services; 
    • Transparency of cost to the user; and 
    • Potential incentive for increased diversion. 

     

    Waste diversion program costs (Blue/Black/Green bin) are funded by taxes so that the program costs can be assessed back to all property owners, including the industrial, commercial and institutional sector since they generate/produce the recyclable materials. Consequently, the costs are spread across the entire community and are not just assigned to residential property owners.

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    Clear garbage bags puts the onus on the garbage collector to police the sorting. Currently to move a bag from the curb to the truck takes a few seconds. This time would be increased considerably with functional policing. Has the city estimated the increased cost such a contract with waste disposal company.? Also if the city pays for this and increases taxes, how will the city know that the extra task is done?

    Zodiac asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for your question. If Council were to choose to adopt a clear garbage bag program with enforced recycling and organics bans, specifications for the responsibility of the collection contract would be included in the next curbside collection contract. The appropriate level of enforcement would be decided by Council and based on feedback from the public, other municipalities, and City staff to recommend a preferred and realistic option.

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    In response to a question posed by cassandradoula below, you replied: "The City has been offering Green Bin collection to multi-residential properties since 2012. It is a voluntary program that is implemented by property management. If you are interested in having Green Bin collection at your property, we encourage you to reach out to your property management staff." Why is the responsibility being put on the residents and property managers? Has a communal green bin dropoff location been considered? If not, why? To echo the comment from the original poster, my waste would be significantly reduced if I had access to a Green Bin.

    ahoule asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for the follow up question. 

    Multi-residential properties are classified as "Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (IC&I)" facilities and fall under Provincial regulations. At this time, IC&I facilities are only mandated by the Province to have recycling programs in place – there is no requirement for organics diversion. The Province is looking to amend the regulations to change the requirements for multi-residential properties, and have taken steps to do so by setting food and organic waste diversion targets that multi-residential properties are to achieve (50% diversion by 2025).

     

    Many properties offer communal green bin collection for their residents. We would encourage you to speak with your property manager to get a green bin program started at your multi-residential property.

Page last updated: 15 September 2021, 09:32