Solid Waste Master Plan

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The City is developing a new Solid Waste Master Plan, to be completed by the end of 2021. 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.

Have your say in-person or online as we consider questions like:

  • How are residents doing when it comes to diverting their waste?
  • What’s working in other cities, and should we do the same things here?
  • How can we get more people recycling and composting in multi-residential communities?
  • How can we get more people to reduce waste and to recycle more?
  • Should we have a zero-waste goal?
  • Can we afford to invest in new technologies to manage waste? Can we afford not to?
  • What can your City government do to build on contributions by the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada?

Join the conversation and ask your questions on Engage Ottawa.

You can also sign-up to receive information about consultation opportunities and updates about the plan.

The City is developing a new Solid Waste Master Plan, to be completed by the end of 2021. 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.

Have your say in-person or online as we consider questions like:

  • How are residents doing when it comes to diverting their waste?
  • What’s working in other cities, and should we do the same things here?
  • How can we get more people recycling and composting in multi-residential communities?
  • How can we get more people to reduce waste and to recycle more?
  • Should we have a zero-waste goal?
  • Can we afford to invest in new technologies to manage waste? Can we afford not to?
  • What can your City government do to build on contributions by the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada?

Join the conversation and ask your questions on Engage Ottawa.

You can also sign-up to receive information about consultation opportunities and updates about the plan.

If you have any questions on the Solid Waste Master Plan or the engagement process, please feel free to ask your question here. We will answer all feedback and questions within three 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.

Do you have a question about the solid waste master plan?

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    Durham Ontario has been successfully operating a "waste to energy" plant for many years. Will the options for Ottawa include incineration as a viable solution?

    terrymun asked 5 days ago

    Thank you for your question. Incineration technologies are indeed one of the many new and existing technologies that are being explored throughout Waste Plan development. Each option we consider will be assessed for its ability to help meet the goals of the Waste Plan, using a triple bottom line approach. The environmental, social and financial implications of the options, and their relevance to our city, will be explored thoroughly and systematically. 

    At this stage in the process we have conducted an in-depth review of various technologies, which is detailed in the Waste Management Technologies Technical Memo posted on Engage Ottawa. As we start to assess the gaps in the current waste management system in Ottawa each technology will be reviewed to evaluate its potential in helping us achieve the goals of the Waste Plan. We will also be engaging with the public on what they think about the current state of waste management in Ottawa and what they would like to see included in the Waste Plan throughout June and into early July. Please watch for a survey coming very soon on Engage Ottawa. 

    The research we are currently undertaking, and the feedback we receive from engagement, will be used to help inform the options for the Waste Plan. Those options will include any new and existing technologies that have the potential to advance our waste management system.  We will be asking for your input on these options towards the end of this year and into 2021. The final options will form the basis for the Waste Plan. 

    I hope you are able to engage throughout the process. 

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    The master plan Phase 1 report (and its Technical Memorandum #1) states that "for larger events such as the Dragon Boat Festival, there is currently no requirement for recycling/diversion as part of the events permit". Where does the waste from large events go? Does it go to the Trail Waste Facility, or to another facility at the discretion of the event organizer? Has the City of Ottawa evaluated (calculated) the waste diversion potential from imposing recycling/diversion to allow these events to obtain a permit? What kind of legislation (at the municipal level?) would be required to impose such a requirement?

    christenerz asked 13 days ago

    Currently, event organizers, such as the Dragon Boat Festival, are required to contract their own waste collection and processing services. Waste from special events is not managed by the Trail Road landfill, rather they are processed and disposed of a private facilities in contract with the special events organizers. As part of Phase 1, the City has not calculated the waste diversion potential from imposing recycling/diversion requirements on special events. As waste from special events is managed privately with no current requirements to share with the city the waste generation and diversion rates, it will be difficult to understand the true diversion potential of implementing a permit system requiring special events to divert their waste.  But because the waste is managed privately, such policy measures would not have an impact on extending the life of the City's Trail Road landfill, but would rather influence more sustainable waste management practices within the broader community. 


    As outlined in the Phase 1 report, the tools available to the City to influence how special events manage their waste is as follows:


    Special Events and Public and Private Property By-law (No. 2013-232)

    The City has established a system of permits and licenses for various types of events, including fairs and festivals on public and private property. The authority for the Special Events and Public and Private Property By-law comes under the public fairs and events powers of the Municipal Act, 2001, and allows the City to regulate cultural, recreational and educational events, including public fairs where there is an expected attendance of at least 500 persons.


    In light of these broad powers over special events on public and private property, Council could consider imposing conditions on special events permits in order to influence waste management and diversion. Such conditions may include requirements for source separation or implementation of waste management and diversion plans.

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    The Master Plan Phase 1 Report Technical Memorandum #1 provides an update to the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Program transition, whereby the program to manage single-use batteries will cease operation on June 30, 2020. Will this have any repercussions on where I can dispose of my single-use batteries? What does this transition mean?

    christenerz asked 13 days ago

    At this point, this change will have no impact on how you dispose of your batteries in Ottawa. There are several retail outlets that take them and we will continue to accept them through our household hazardous waste programs. Over the coming months, we will be digging deeper into how the City will transition to EPR and batteries (both single-use and rechargeable) will be included in our new strategies. In summary, for our residents, battery drop-offs remain status quo and any changes will be presented through the City’s transition plan to EPR and the Solid Waste Master Plan.

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    The Master Plan Phase 1 Report Technical Memorandum #1 describes a green bin and recycling pilot project in the city parks, running from the summer of 2019 to the end of November 2020. How are you adapting your study to the restrictions imposed on residents during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, where the use of parks was highly restricted/limited for some time? Will you extend it to obtain more representative results as to the effectiveness of the green bin and recyling bins in the city's parks?

    christenerz asked 13 days ago

    The implications of COVID-19 on all waste programs are being monitored by the City. Seasonal summer bins were removed from parks over the winter months as they cannot be accessed for collection in snowy conditions. While COVID-19 did delay the deployment of some seasonal bins, almost all bins are now in place. The parks pilot project team is monitoring collected tonnages from all ten parks participating in the pilot, and will determine with senior management if any extension is necessary.


    An important element of monitoring the success of the pilot is the completion of seasonal waste audits to analyze the composition of material in each waste stream.  At this time, there has been no delay in completing the waste audits. 


    This pilot did commence in July 2019. The data collected from this pilot as well as previous waste diversion in parks initiatives will be analyzed and a model will be created to review what a City-wide program would look like. This will be evaluated and considered through the Solid Waste Master Plan.

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    An increase in the Ottawa population brings a corresponding increase in revenue through taxation. It is therefore important that the City ensures that the provision of services and fiscal responsibility using taxpayers money is used as efficiently as possible for this purpose through the creation of new jobs. Can you confirm that the new taxes which will be received will be used proportionally for waste disposal services in the future.

    Hunter's Run asked 18 days ago

    Thank you for your inquiry. As well as an increase in tax revenue, the City’s waste service requirements will increase with population growth, as the City will need to provide waste service to these new households. In addition, depending on the options recommended through the Solid Waste Master Plan, new infrastructure/technologies/programs may be required to manage waste generated in the City. All potential options for the Solid Waste Master Plan will be considered against a triple bottom line: balancing fiscal responsibility with social acceptance and environmental sustainability. 


    We cannot confirm at this time how taxes will be used to fund the waste system in the future, however we are committed to a transparent planning process and will be engaging with the community on proposed options for the Solid Waste Master Plan towards the end of this year. Over the coming weeks we’ll be engaging with the public to get their feedback on what they think of the current waste management system and what a desirable system would look like in the future. We hope you can join the conversation (starting with a survey on Engage Ottawa at the beginning of June). 

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    Thank you for posting the draft SW master plan. I have two questions: 1) Where can I see the Document 6 on Stakeholders? I could not find a link to it. 2) Is there a way in this stage for members of the public to provide comments, for example, a slightly longer text that includes references to example policies in other jurisdictions, and not just ask questions?

    Susan Ross asked 16 days ago

    Thank you for letting us know the link to Document 6 was not working – this has now been fixed. Members of the public will be able to engage very shortly on what they think of the current state of waste management in Ottawa, what they would like to see in the Waste Plan and what a desirable future state of waste management might look like. A survey will be posted on Engage Ottawa at the beginning of June and residents will also be able to take part in online workshops and forums later in June. We very much want to receive your input and hope you will be able to engage. If you sign up to receive our newsletter you will be alerted when the survey is posted. 

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    You state in the Phase 1 waste plan report that "given the low contamination rates found in the processed materials [...] all of Ottawa's recycled content is currently marketed domestically within North America". How is this known? Is this a standard that Cascades Recovery + abides by? Is the City of Ottawa actively involved in marketing its recycled content and in the its domestic sale?

    christenerz asked 28 days ago

    Thank you for your question.


    The City of Ottawa is not directly responsible for marketing its recycled content and in its domestic sales, however, the City does approve all transactions. The City will sell to the highest bidder and asks for the final destination of all sales. Typically, the bidder is within North America because the costs of transportation are much lower than shipping overseas. So, the benefits of this approach are two-fold; it is better environmentally and it yields the highest bid.


    We hope this provides some clarification on the current state of Ottawa’s recycling process.

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    There are many ways in which we should be doing better to recycle and manage our waste through a whole-life approach to materials used in all elements of our life but it must be balanced against reality so as be as successful as possible. The solid waste master plan has a lot of great soundbites (principles, objective, visions) yet is rather lacking in any detail. When shall we expect to receive any real detail on the actual effect of the master plan so that we can constructively engage with you to provide feedback into the development of the plan so that it does not fail.

    Hunter's Run asked 18 days ago

    Thank you for your feedback and question. We are currently in the process of developing the vision, guiding principles, goals and objectives for the Waste Plan and will shortly be posting a survey on Engage Ottawa that will obtain feedback from residents and stakeholders to inform the development of these statements. 


    This survey will also ask general questions about what residents think about the current state of waste management in Ottawa and what changes/improvements they would like to see over the short and long term. This input will be used to help inform the development of options for the Waste Plan. To answer your question, it is these options that will get to the specifics of what we need to do to improve waste management in the city. We will then be consulting on these options, again with all residents and stakeholders, later on in 2020 and into early 2021. 


    I hope this answers your question but please let us know if you like more specific details.

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    In your Phase 1 report, you indicate that once we transition to the "Individual Producer Responsibility" (IPR) model for the Blue Box Program, "the City will no longer be expected to collect, process, market, or subsidize the cost of recycling collection and/or disposal". What would the outcome of "no longer [...] collect[ing]" be on individual households? I understand the goal is ultimately to reduce the amount of plastic/cardboard/single-use material from the source. But, in the event that I would have material to dispose of, would I be expected to drop off my recyclables at a specific location? What are examples of existing IPR models that we could learn from?

    christenerz asked 29 days ago

    The City of Ottawa, along with all other Ontario municipalities, is currently participating in consultation with the Province to develop the regulations that will outline IPR in Ontario. The outcome of these regulations, which are due out this summer, will guide the City’s IPR transition plan which will ensure residents maintain the level of service they expect and deserve. The expectation is that residents will not face any new undue burdens by IPR, and the new system will be convenient and efficient. Ottawa is in on-going conversations with subject matter experts and contractors as to how to best respond to the regulations. 


    Please stay tuned over the coming months as the City develops its transition plan to IPR and continue to ask questions and engage us. 

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    I’m curious if the city has looked into partnering with Terracycle in an attempt to divert items from landfill that are currently unable to be recycled. Having bins available, say located beside community mailboxes or in shopping centre or grocery store parking lots, would make the program highly successful. Another option would be for the city to cover the cost of in-home/office boxes the company offers, like how new residents are able to receive a coupon to purchase new recycling and compost bins.

    xmodxgoddessx asked 24 days ago

    Thank you for providing your feedback and ideas. We will be exploring possible opportunities to foster partnerships with a variety of external organizations through Waste Plan development. In addition, many options will be explored that could potentially increase the type and volume of items that are diverted from the landfill. We are very interested in continuing to hear ideas and hope you can participate in engagement opportunities starting at the beginning of June. 

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    Hello, not a question, but just a comment to thank you for publishing the Waste Plan and relevant detailed documentation - it's a really interesting read, and as I go through it a lot of questions come to mind, so thank you for taking the time to answer them and engaging us like this!

    christenerz asked 23 days ago

    Thanks for the feedback and glad you are engaged!

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    In your Phase 1 Waste Plan report, you cite the example of the anti-food waste legislation in France, where large grocery stores are fined if they throw away or destroy unsold food, requiring them to donate the unsold food to charities. Being familiar with France's political structure, I know France is a highly centralized government where passing such laws country-wide would be simpler than in our more (relatively) decentralized system. At which level (federal, provincial or municipal) would a similar legislation be necessary in order to be implemented in Ottawa? Given current trends in environmental legislation, how likely is it that such a legislation could be considered within the next 5 years?

    christenerz asked 28 days ago

    Options to address food waste will be fully explored throughout Waste Plan development and will include looking at opportunities to implement waste reduction education campaigns as well as potentially using municipal legislative tools. We will also be closely assessing the development of provincial actions to tackle food waste reduction in grocery stores and other businesses, which is addressed in their Food and Organics Waste Policy Statement. This statement refers to the reduction of food waste by businesses, the rescue of surplus food and the recovery of resources from organic waste. As yet, it is unclear what approach will be taken by the province and what educational and/or legislative tools they will use. Where new legislation and policies are implemented at the provincial level, the City will be looking at ways we can compliment those actions wherever possible. For a more detailed explanation of the legislative tools available at the municipal level, please refer to the Legislative Review technical memo and the ‘The Role of the Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments’ backgrounder in the updates section on Engage Ottawa. 

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    Has any attempt been made to engage local entrepreneurs to make use of recycled plastics in local applications, such as plastic lumber, road surfacing materials, clean co-generation, or biological cracking and separation into reusable formats? Surely not all of these or other applications require scrupulous cleaning of plastic waste. We need to see some creative uses locally, rather than trying to ship our waste elsewhere or dump it in landfills.

    ajs4books asked about 1 month ago

    The Solid Waste Services Long-Term Planning team is currently reviewing all options to manage Ottawa’s waste (including some of what you referenced) – nothing is off of the table. We are looking to best practices in cities across Canada and the world to help us develop innovative solutions for Ottawa’s waste. We agree, it is certainly time to create solutions that keep our waste from the landfill and remain cognizant of greenhouse gasses included in transporting waste.

    Over the coming months the City is developing a ‘Solid Waste Master Plan’ – please stay tuned and continue to provide comments and ask questions. We truly appreciate hearing from all residents.

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    You indicate in your Phase 1 report that "The younger generation (Millenials and Generation Z) [...] are showing signs of being more environmentally conscious than older generations, with approximately 75 per cent indicating that they are willing to pay extra for sustainable products. As their purchasing power increase, it is anticipated that producers will respond accordingly to appeal to this emerging consumer base.". How was this information ("75 per cent") obtained? Did you run a survey? How many participants responded to this survey? What was the income range of the participants? Is there any data that indicates that individuals of the younger generation are actually paying extra for sustainable products (and not just saying they would)? I would agree that younger generations (of which I am a part) could be more environmentally conscious - how do you plan on engaging them (us) during the next phase?

    christenerz asked 29 days ago

    Thank you for your inquiry. The research conducted on the trends and behaviours of different generations is captured in our Emerging Policies and Trends technical memorandum (please see Sections 3 and 4).  This research was conducted on behalf of the City of Ottawa by a technical consultant, HDR, in partnership with Dillon Consulting Limited, Love Environmental Inc. and Robins Environmental. The consultants cited this study conducted by Nanos Research with the Globe and Mail regarding interest in making sustainable purchases. 1000 participants were polled in 2019. The City was not involved in conducting the poll so we cannot provide details on the participants.


    The City plans to engage all residents and stakeholders in the second phase of the Solid Waste Master Plan’s development through extensive stakeholder consultations. A combination of online surveys and focus groups will start in the coming weeks to solicit feedback on the current state of waste management in the City of Ottawa, and how residents and stakeholders envision the City moving forward with waste management. This feedback will be analyzed and contribute to creating a list of options the City could consider in developing the Solid Waste Master Plan. Further consultations will take place in late 2020/early 2021 to review the list of options and receive resident and stakeholder feedback on the preferred options.

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    With the Trail Road Landfill reaching its capacity in 2041 (if I understood the Phase 1 report correctly), are there already considerations/ideas for potential new landfill facilities? What is the process for identifying, acquiring and developing a new landfill? Are there any areas in the Ottawa region that would still have the potential to be developed into a landfill, considering potential future environmental legislation, urban expansion/development?

    christenerz asked 29 days ago

    That is correct, based on current projections, if we remain at status quo with our diversion efforts and current policies regarding the acceptance of waste at Trail Road, the landfill is expected to be full in 2041. Ideas/considerations for beyond the life of Trail will be explored further in Phase 2 of the Master Plan's development. This could include options such as siting a new landfill, exploring other residual waste management technologies, such as incineration, to developing a new landfill or waste management technology but rather partnering with the private sector waste management facilities to process residential waste. These are just a few examples of options that will be further considered in the Master Plan. As highlighted above, we will also be exploring a variety of other policy options in an effort to further extend the life of Trail Road. But this will involve enhanced diversion efforts by residents. The process for developing a new landfill is complex and lengthy, requires siting, purchasing land if not owned by the City, design, establishing financing, regulatory approvals through the Environmental Protection Act and the Environmental Assessment Act and thorough community consultation and engagementIt is a lengthy process and typically takes upwards of 10 years to complete this process.


    There are areas in the city that have the potential to be developed for future waste management facilities. Some properties already consider waste management facilities as a permitted land use while some properties may require zoning amendments to consider land filling as an appropriate land use. Appropriate locations for a new landfill would be explored through a siting process - which would only be undertaken once a determination is made on the strategic approach to managing Ottawa's waste beyond the life of the current Trail Road landfill. 

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    In Table 4 of your Phase 1 waste plan, where you list options and approaches to be considered in Phase 2, you mention the options of exporting waste outside of the city's limits, and disposing of waste in private landfills. How feasible are these measures? Are there existing options that the City of Ottawa could consider?

    christenerz asked 28 days ago

    Thank you for your question and interest in the Waste Plan. 

    The purpose of Phase 1 was to undertake a scan of tools, policies, programs and technologies in use by other municipalities. In Phase 2, this is when we will further analyze Ottawa's unique needs through a needs assessment analysis, and will narrow down options specific to Ottawa's context and unique needs. Feasibility of this option for Ottawa will be considered in this Phase. There absolutely are other policy mechanisms the City can consider beyond the life of our existing landfill, and these will be explored further during this phase of the project. This will also be coupled with exploring policy options to increase our collective diversion efforts which will also help extend the life of Trail Road, pushing the need to explore alternative land filling or other residual waste technologies into the longer term of the strategy.

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    I want to offer support for those asking about when multi-residential buildings will have composting. I moved into a condo building last year and I am still shocked at having to through compost in the garbage. Actually, I would even use the word distressed. I look out my window at the green bins across the street sitting outside houses and I feel upset. My daily landfill garbage would be reduced to maybe one small bag a week if I didn't have compost material going into it. Then I read consultations on this matter will go on for 18 months? Why is it taking Ottawa so long to put these things in place?

    Jen Campbell asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for raising this concern and sharing your experience. We appreciate your interest and enthusiasm in wanting to divert more waste!

     In Ontario, residential waste management is mandated by the Province, but is carried out by local municipalities. Ontario regulations state that property owners are responsible for providing recycling programs to residents living at the property. All properties in the City of Ottawa must have recycling services, however, Provincial regulations do not require food and organic waste programs at multi-residential properties (the intention is that this will change in the future through the Province’s Food and Organic Waste Policy Statement). 


    While many property owners, managers, and superintendents want to start a Green Bin program, many of them face challenges in doing so, such as space restrictions in older buildings, no staff on site to monitor and maintain the program, and concerns regarding smells and pests. The City has been working with property owners, managers, and superintendents to understand the challenges they face in starting a Green Bin program, and investigating ways we can provide support them in providing Green Bin service to residents living at multi-residential properties. 


    In developing a Master Plan and associated strategies, it is important that the recommendations put forth are evidence-based and suitable solutions for the City of Ottawa. As a result, it does take time to ensure staff do their due diligence in researching and proposing potential solutions. Another critical component when developing any Master Plan or Strategy that affects our residents is that the City consult with and engage the public throughout the planning process. For the Solid Waste Master Plan, there are three series of consultations: one to obtain feedback on our current system, one to obtain feedback on potential options for moving forward, and one to review and provide feedback on the draft Solid Waste Master Plan before it is finalized and presented to City Council for approval. The project team recognizes that this will take a considerable amount of time, but it is important to engage residents and key stakeholders to have a community-supported Solid Waste Master Plan.


    City councillors, residents, and City staff alike realize that diversion at multi-residential properties is much lower than their curbside counterparts. As such, the City is currently developing a Multi-Residential Waste Strategy that will investigate policies, programs, and initiatives aimed at increasing waste diversion. Due to the urgency of this, the Strategy is being developed at the same time as the Solid Waste Master Plan, and will consider feedback received through the first two consultation series of the Solid Waste Master Plan. Staff are anticipating that the Strategy will be presented to the City’s Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management in early 2021.


    In the meantime, the City will continue to work with property owners, managers, and superintendents to encourage increased participation in the Green Bin program.

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    Why are we not incinerating like they have been doing in Europe for the past 40 years, while harvesting the energy that is created by the heat?

    1980Landcrusier asked about 1 month ago

    Thank you for taking the time to provide your input. Incineration technologies are indeed one of the many technologies that are being explored throughout Waste Plan development. Each option we consider will be assessed for its ability to help meet the goals of the Waste Plan, using a triple bottom line approach. The environmental, social and financial implications of the options, and their relevance to our city, will be explored thoroughly and systematically. 

    We will be asking for your input on the options towards the end of this year and into 2021. I hope you are able to engage throughout the process.

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    In some municipalities, diapers are put in the green bin. Truly these products are not compostable and should remain out of the green bin. Municipalities that permit diapers in the green bin have sorting processes that remove the diapers which then are streamed with solid waste. As disposable diapers are a large household contributor to landfills, will Ottawa consider promoting cloth diapers?

    GillianK asked 2 months ago

    Thank you for your feedback.  Our waste composition studies indicate that diapers and sanitary products account for approximately 5% of the garbage stream, by weight. As we develop the City’s new Solid Waste Master Plan the City will be considering options that align with the vision and guiding principles of the Solid Waste Master Plan and the 5R’s waste hierarchy – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, and Residuals Management. We appreciate your feedback and look forward to hearing from you in our upcoming engagement series.

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    In North America, there are some incineration facilities that produce energy and put it back into the grid, and also provide steam and heat to nearby facilities and neighbourhoods. Will Ottawa consider investing in such a facility?

    GillianK asked 2 months ago

    Thank you for your feedback and question. We will indeed be considering waste-to-energy techniques as we develop the Solid Waste Master Plan over the next 2 years. A wide range of new and emerging technologies will be considered.

    Over the next few months our research team will be exploring how a broad range of options, including waste-to-energy, may meet the specific needs of the city. Engagement, which will occur from May to July (stay tuned!), will enable residents and stakeholders to provide their input on what they believe the city needs to do in order to achieve the best waste management system for Ottawa. Later this year, as we start to hone in on the specific options we may choose to pursue, we will reach out to residents and stakeholders again for feedback.


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    Why are you encouraging people to put plastic into compost bins? This doesn't work. It doesn't miraculously disappear. Even "diodegradable" plastic lasts many years.

    thargas asked 3 months ago

    Residents are allowed to use compostable, biodegradable and plastic bags to contain food and organic waste. No other plastic material (i.e. cutlery, cups, etc.) is accepted in the program. This decision was made in 2018 and implemented in 2019 as a way to encourage residents to use the green bin program. In market research completed by the City in 2018, 63% of Ottawa residents said they would start to use the green bin or continue to use the green bin once plastic bags were permitted. The City continues to encourage residents to use paper options, including paper bags, newspaper, cereal boxes, and empty milk cartons. Many residents who were “early adopters” of the green bin program continue to use paper bag options to line their green bins.

    You are correct that plastic bags do not miraculously disappear from the compost. The processing facility where the City takes organic waste collected from residents, that is owned and operated by Renewi, installed a new shredder to break-apart the plastic bags, and a screener to capture and remove plastic bags from the compost. The facility complies with Provincial standards to produce compost that meets the requirements outlined in the Ontario Compost Quality Standards.


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    What research has the city done into the effectiveness of limiting curbside pick up/charging for excess waste as a tool to total waste reduction?

    Epic asked 3 months ago

    Staff have conducted research into, and continue to explore, several options, such as:

    1. Clear bags for garbage;

    2. Pay as you throw;

    3. Containerized garbage collection (e.g. automated cart);

    4. Garbage bag/container limits; and

    5. Material Bans.

    This work will be explored, alongside other best practices research, with residents and stakeholders as the Waste Pan is developed.


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    Who has jurisdiction over waste production, as in packaging requirements, options for refilling station purchases versus buying newly packaged each time, etc? We try to chose low packaging products, compost, use our green bin and recycling bins but still end up with more garbage than we should. A waste management plan should be a cradle-to-grave endeavour, not a middle-age-to-grave endeavour.

    AmberJean asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question. The circular economy and cradle-to-grave measures will be considered and explored as we develop the Waste Plan. We will also discuss what the municipality can do to compliment measures taken by other levels of government, which are highlighted below.

    The Province of Ontario is currently working on the implementation of extended producer responsibility for packaging and paper products (those products residents place into the Blue Box). This means that producers will become responsible for managing the products through their whole life cycle, from selection of materials to designing their end-of-life use or disposal. Since industry becomes responsible for the life cycle of the products, there's a financial incentive for them to create better designed products that will have less environmental impact and reduce the amount sent to landfill (as they will ultimately pay for all the costs of producing, collecting and recycling/disposing of what they produce). You can learn more at https://www.ontario.ca/page/producer-responsibility-ontarios-waste-diversion-programs.

    The Province has also created a 'Compostable Products Technical Working Group' to set clearer rules for compostable packaging materials in Ontario. Compostable packaging is viewed as a possible alternative to single-use plastic packaging, but there are currently concerns due to the fact that not all products are accepted at composting facilities and public confusion exists over where to place these products in the waste streams. You can read more in the Province's Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. The federal government is also investing in improvements to the compostability of these products by funding innovative projects related to food packaging.


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    What would be the impact of having a single recycling program with plastics and paper placed and collected in 1 bin? Could we have a central sorting facility for garbage that could have machines and people sorting through trash to divert more recyclable material? Another option could be encouraging local manufacturers to build playground equipment or other building materials that would then be repurchased by the city to upgrade parks and reduce building costs.

    florch96 asked 3 months ago

    Thanks for your input and questions. We've provided some information below to help explain why current collection systems are in place:

    The City currently receives 100 % of the revenue for all marketed recyclables.  In the City’s two-stream recycling program, paper and cardboard (fibre) is collected separately from glass, metals and plastics (GMP) rather than being mixed together.  Separately collected recyclable streams have lower contamination levels (e.g. food and glass does not soil fibre materials), which yields a higher quality and cleaner product that is reputable, and thus holds a higher revenue value.  Furthermore, a dual stream recycling program has a lower processing rate because the resident is responsible for completing the main material sort: Fibre for the black box and GMP for the blue box.

    Cascades Recovery+ is not only currently responsible for the processing and sorting of the City’s residential recyclable materials, but they are also responsible for the marketing of the material and they are constantly looking for new market opportunities for the processed material, including locally.  It should be noted that the province of Ontario is moving towards full producer responsibility, which would see the producers of printed paper and packaging wholly responsible for the management of their waste.  The transition to this program is to take place from 2023 to 2025.


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    When will businesses and multi-unit dwellings be forced to compost? Will you eventually ticket garbage that contains biodegradable material?

    SomebodySayingSomething asked 3 months ago

    Thanks for your questions. A variety of methods will be explored to increase waste diversion in businesses and multi-residential buildings. Changes to collection systems in multi-residential properties, enforcement methods and public education program improvements will all be discussed. We will be holding separate engagement sessions for residents interested in providing feedback on multi-residential waste management. I encourage you to Sign-up to be kept informed of these opportunities.


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    I have lived in Ottawa from 1999-2012, and 2017-present. I have been extremely frustrated that for most of those years I have not had access to the city’s compost pick-up due to living in multi-unit buildings. From 2017-early 2019 we rented in a condo town home, and used the compost pick up extensively - it was shocking when we moved back into a mid-rise condo how much garbage we are producing. I do not understand why there is no mandatory compost pick up for these types of buildings. We do not own a vehicle, so even if we kept our own composter on the balcony, it is not clear how we would usefully pass on the results.

    Macleod199 asked 3 months ago

    Thanks for your feedback. Waste diversion at multi-residential properties will be a major focus throughout development of the Waste Plan. We will be holding separate engagement sessions specifically for residents who would like to provide input on multi-residential waste management. If you would like to participate I encourage you to sign up (hit the subscribe link on the Engage Ottawa page or Sign-up here). For your interest, there is also a Working Group for multi-residential property managers and owners that meets every few months to discuss waste diversion improvements in multi-residential buildings. Feedback from this Working Group plus feedback from resident engagement sessions over the next 18 months will be used to help draft the Waste Plan and, ultimately, make improvements to waste diversion in multi-residential buildings.

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    WHY NOT INCLUDE SUMME WEEKLY GARBAGE PICK UP? WHY NOT HAVE CITY SEPERATE SO ALL THAT CAN BE WILL BE DIVERTED FROM LAND FILL? WHY HAVE YOU NOT PUT IN PLACE INCINERATION "PERIOD"? YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO FAR - IN ONTARIO - TO SEE THAT IT WORKS - SAVES LAND FILL - YES??? ALL YOUR STUDIES HAAVE ALREADY BEEN DONE, SO,NO NEED TO DO MORE AND WASTE TAX PAYES MONEY (AGAIN).

    HENRY asked 3 months ago

    Thanks for your feedback on weekly garbage collection and incineration. All collection programs will be looked at over the course of Waste Plan development and we will be exploring various methods to keep recyclables and organics out of the garbage stream. Biweekly garbage collection is a system used by many municipalities to encourage residents to place recyclables and organics in the correct waste streams. We will also be exploring methods that deal with waste that cannot be recycled or composted. Various current and new and emerging technologies will be considered and we will certainly be looking at best practices in other jurisdictions, both in Canada and internationally. Much has changed since the development of Ottawa's last Waste Plan, including the amount and type of waste now generated and the technologies available to process recyclable material and deal with leftover garbage.

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    Hello, I am hoping that the plan will consider future composting of diapers to reduce waste. This practice is already underway in Toronto. Thanks for keeping the momentum going with your long-term strategy! Claire

    Claire O asked 3 months ago

    Thanks for your feedback. The Waste Plan will be exploring improvements to all current waste programs, including the Green Bin program.

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    When will Ottawa follow the example of many other cities in banning the use of single-use plastic bags in retail outlets, including supermarkets and convenience stores?

    RJJB asked 3 months ago

    Options to manage single-use plastics will be explored throughout Waste Plan development. There is a general awareness that tackling this issue will require governments to regulate, businesses to innovate and individuals to act. All options will be researched and considered (including bans, educational programs and procurement strategies) and any actions implemented by the City will compliment or add to actions taken by federal and provincial governments. As you are likely aware, the federal government has recently announced its intention to ban single-use plastics by 2021. As yet, we don't know the details of exactly when this will happen and which plastics will be included in the ban. Staff will be watching developments closely and considering the federal government approach as options for the Waste Plan are determined.

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    A30 year plan. I my kids will be in their 60's. I can't imagine our city to not have implemented a circulareconomy, to deal with plastic/solid waste system, by then. Using pyrolysis technology, the ultimate solution to the plastic /solid waste problem. The global, proven technology for processing plastics, tires even garbage to reduce the need for landfill site. The ultimate, better solution to realizing a city's goals of improving the climate situation. There are no negatives here, in a pyrolysis based, waste management infrastructure.

    Rick asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your input on pyrolysis technology. A number of emerging technologies will be explored throughout Waste Plan development. If you check back in a few weeks time we will have much more information posted on emerging technologies to help everyone join in the discussion.

    A Waste Plan timeframe tends to range 25-30 years in order to provide strategic direction that will help municipalities work towards a more sustainable future. Much will be implemented in the short term though. In fact, the Waste Plan will recommend options to be implemented in the short-term (5 year term) and medium- and long-term. In addition, the Waste Plan will be updated every 5 years to ensure it aligns with new legislation and policy and program trends.

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    What are you thinking of doing to encourage a circular economy? How do you plan to encourage residents to reduce waste? What about businesses? I see a real problem with the growth of skip the dishes/ uber eats creating a lot more styrofoam, which is incredibly unsustainable. Maybe a deposit system for metal containers is required, and people can drop them off at any participating restaurant for a deposit return. Or they can be picked up when their next order is delivered. We have a lot of problems to tackle, and limiting the use of plastics (bans) so we are at 1970 levels of usage would be a huge step forward. Not enough, but it would cut down greatly, because I saw huge increases in plastic reliance in the 80s and 90s.

    HealthyVeggie asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your questions and input. Encouraging a circular economy can include anything from minimising the use of raw materials, getting as much value as possible from resources (by reusing, recycling etc) and minimising the waste at the end of a products lifecycle. All of this will be discussed throughout the term of Waste Plan development. As far as educating residents and businesses, there's certainly more that can be done and the Waste Plan will be exploring numerous education options. Additionally, the growth of Styrofoam and single-use plastics and the options available for reduced production and better recycling will be explored. We will also be looking at what the provincial and federal governments are doing/intend to do regarding these issues, and what municipal governments can do to support, compliment and add to these efforts. Nothing has been decided yet and input we receive from the public and stakeholders will help us come up with the options, so I encourage you to participate if/when you can.