Solid Waste Master 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. And watch for in-person engagement sessions and a survey – all coming soon.

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. And watch for in-person engagement sessions and a survey – all coming soon.

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?

  • 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 20 days 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.


  • 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 about 1 month 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.


  • 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 27 days 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.


  • 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 about 1 month 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.


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

    SomebodySayingSomething asked 30 days 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.


  • 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 29 days 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.

  • 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 about 1 month 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.

  • 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 30 days ago

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

  • 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 about 1 month 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.

  • 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 about 1 month 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.

  • 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 about 1 month 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.