Council approves implementation plan for three-item garbage limit starting September 30

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal turquoise stripe are in the foreground with " City Council update" in the centre.

On May 29, 2024 Council approved a plan to implement its curbside waste diversion policy(link is external), which will come into effect on Monday, September 30.  The new policy allows households receiving curbside collection to set out up to three 140 litre garbage bins every two weeks, limiting the impact on the City’s Trail Waste Facility landfill. More than half of what currently goes to the landfill could be diverted to the green, blue or black bins.

To guide residents through this change, the City will roll out a communications and outreach plan over the coming months, including tools and tips to help people divert more waste. Once the limit is in place, there will be a two-month transition period as residents adjust. The City will focus on educating residents before collection gradually stops in December for garbage items over the household limit. 

Residents with extra waste will be able to purchase yellow bags that would not be counted against the three-item limit. These bags are sold at locations throughout the city, including the seven client service centres and select Home Hardware stores. The Special Considerations waste program offers collection of diapers, incontinence products and home healthcare waste on off weeks. Agricultural properties with residential households that receive curbside collection will have a seasonal exemption period during which they can set out unlimited, unavoidable farm waste so long as properties are participation in the City’s other waste diversion programs. 

Council received an update on the implementation of the multi-residential waste diversion strategy(link is external). Under the strategy, multi-residential properties need to participate in the Green Bin program to qualify to receive City waste-collection services. Multi-residential buildings account for 17 per cent of City-collected residential waste. Of the multi-residential waste sent to landfill, about 58 per cent could be recycled or placed in the green bin. Providing these properties with the opportunity to divert organic waste will help the City reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prolong the life of the Trail Waste Facility landfill.  

The City currently collects waste from approximately 2,300 multi-residential properties. Only about 52 per cent of those offer the Green Bin program. From Q3 2024 to the end of 2028, the City will bring the remaining properties on board through a mandatory process. The total cost of onboarding these properties is approximately $5.6 million over the next four years.

Council received an overview of By-law and Regulatory Services(link is external) activities in 2023, including its most recent performance metrics. The service responded to 100,060 service requests in 2023, a 7.6-per-cent increase over 2022. Parking enforcement made up 41 per cent of calls, up from 38 per cent in 2022 and continuing to increase toward pre-pandemic levels. The service continues to exceed its standard response times for high-priority service requests, responding within 24 hours more than 92 per cent of the time.

The City is continually working to improve service by modernizing tools and technology and streamlining processes. A comparative review of by-law services in Ottawa, Hamilton, Toronto and Windsor over the past five years showed that Ottawa continues to be a provincial leader in efficient operations, with enforcement staff handling 83 per cent more calls than their municipal peers.

Council approved entering into an agreement with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to build new cycling facilities on the Maitland Avenue bridge(link is external) over Highway 417, as part of the bridge’s planned replacement. The City would pay up to $5.4 million to fund construction of the cycling facilities, which would add a raised cycle track with a concrete buffer on each side of the bridge. The Province is responsible for all other costs associated with the new bridge.

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