Ottawa eyes green bins in all apartment, condominium buildings

City of Ottawa residents place their green bins, recycling, and garbage cans on the side of the street for pick-up on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (CTV Ottawa)

Tenants living in city of Ottawa apartment buildings, condominiums and other multi-unit dwellings could soon have a Green Bin for their organic waste.

City staff are recommending the city expand the organic waste recycling program to all multi-unit residential properties, in a bid to increase waste diversion and extend the life of the Trail Road landfill.

As of Dec. 1, 2021, 929 of the 2,150 properties currently serviced by the city garbage and recycling collections were participating in the city's Green Bin organics waste recycling program.

Residents living in multi-residential buildings generated 67,569 tonnes of waste in 2021. Staff say 17 per cent of waste collected from multi-residential properties in Ottawa last year was diverted through recycling or organics collection.

A report for the standing committee on environmental protection, water and waste management is recommending a new Multi-Residential Waste Diversion Strategy, including making organic waste diversion mandatory in all multi-residential properties currently receiving waste collection service from the city.

Under the proposal, any new multi-unit dwelling property receiving city waste collection services as of June 1, 2022, would be required to participate in the Green Bin program.  Staff will report to the new council next year with a detailed implementation plan and cost analysis to introduce organic waste recycling to all buildings in the city.

"Recognizing the amount of time, logistics and support required to launch organics collection at more than 50 per cent of the City’s multi-residential properties, this project pillar proposes proactively introducing organics collection service to all properties not currently participating," staff say in the report for the April 19 meeting.

Staff say the city will work with property management to determine the "most reasonable approach" for implementing the Green Bin in multi-unit properties in a timely manner.

A survey of residents and the property management sector in February and March found key barriers to program participation included a lack of space to store bins, pets and cleanliness, no green bin access, easier to throw away items in the garbage and a lack of knowledge about how to sort waste.  The survey found 60 per cent of residents said making it more convenient to dispose of organic waste would encourage participation in the Green Bin program.

Increasing participation in the green bin and diverting waste from the landfill is part of the strategy to extend the life of the Trail Road landfill.   Council was told last year the landfill is more than 70 per cent full, and could run out of space between 2036 and 2038.  A new landfill could cost over $200 million.

PROJECT PILLARS

The proposed Multi-Residential Waste Diversion Strategy has five pillars.

  1. Expanding organics diversion to all multi-unit residential properties
  2. Enhancing promotion and education to educate residents, encourage behaviour change and increase participation in waste diversion programs
  3. Exploring pilots. Staff would explore and advance new management and diversion techniques in the multi-residential sector and address the barriers and risks heard through engagement
  4. Dedicating and redesigning space for waste disposal programs. Staff say this includes recommending design requirements for new buildings to incorporate waste diversion programs
  5. Driving change moving forward through the collection contract. Staff say there are opportunities to enhance multi-residential waste management through provisions included in the collection contract.