Our Programs

Recycling Programs

Recycling Programs in Ottawa

As Canada’s fourth-largest city, Ottawa depends on reliable and highly efficient recycling programs to maintain modest waste and pollution levels as the city continues to grow. As a result, legislation and guidelines are in place surrounding Ottawa’s recycling programs to help keep Canada’s capital clean. Local businesses and organizations are also reaching out to lend a hand, leading privately-led efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle within Ottawa’s neighbourhoods.

Participating in Ottawa’s Bin-Based Programs

To streamline collection and sorting efficiency, the City of Ottawa has implemented three main programs for Ottawa residents. These Blue, Black, and Green Bin Programs are designed to enable the efficient recycling of as many items as possible, diverting them away from landfills. The city provides one of each bin per household, and additional ones can be purchased at hardware stores in the area. For apartments and multi-unit properties, the Green Bin Program is normally available. Your property manager, landlord, or condo Board representative should have access to the specific information for your building and/or unit.

Regardless of what type of home you live in, always be sure to consult the City of Ottawa’s garbage and recycling page for complete and detailed lists of what recyclable items can be placed in each respective type of bin. You can also visit the Green Bin Program page for further details on organic recycling and a list of permitted items. Also keep in mind that damaged or missing bins for new property can be replaced upon request by calling 3-1-1, and printable coupons can be found here.

Take it Back! Program

Another way to reduce our waste levels and efficiently recycle products is to participate in the city’s “Take it Back!” program, which encourages local businesses to receive empty containers or recyclable remnants of household materials that they sell, enabling them to be properly sent for disposal or recycling by business owners and/or operators. This is the ideal way to return all plastic bags (even biodegradable ones) and other items not suitable for bin-based collection. The program includes various stewardships that willingly accept electronic waste, used tired, and municipal or hazardous waste at various depots and locations. Visit the program's webpage or call 613-580-2424 (ext. 22601) for further details and to learn where you can find “Take it Back!” program participants in your area.

Collection Calendar

For the city’s Blue, Black, or Green Bin Program collection schedule, request a downloadable collection calendar through the online tool on this page, sign up for Twitter, email, or phone-based reminders, or request a printed calendar to be sent to you in the mail. The calendars are included with bulk mail, so be sure to keep an eye out. Try to put your bins out at the curb by 7am to ensure they’ll be visible and picked up that day, and only place them in a spot that doesn’t make them a walking, cycling, or driving hazard.

Unsure where an item goes? Use the city’s Waste Explorer tool to find out.

Green Bin Program

Composting with Ottawa’s Green Bin Program

By weight, 45% of Ottawa’s garbage comprises of organic waste that can easily be diverted away from landfills and effectively recycled through composting. By using the city's Green Bin Program and consulting with Ottawa’s garbage and recycling page for further information, you’ll be able to minimize your household’s environmental footprint.

Green Bin Program Overview

Initialized in 2010 to prevent the need of landfill expansion, Ottawa’s highly effective Green Bin Program allows for organic material to be collected every week of each year and brought to an indoor composting facility, where it is then converted for use on farmer’s fields across Eastern Ontario. The City of Ottawa receives 5% of this compost for its own cultivation and landscaping-related needs. This has helped to save millions of dollars that would have been otherwise needed for landfill expansion.

What Items Can And Can’t Be Recycled Through The Program?

More than “just food” can be composted, contrary to popular belief. Yard waste, cat litter, ashes and sawdust can be placed in green bins, in addition to food and kitchen scraps. On top of this, items such as wax paper and food-soiled pizza boxes, food-soiled paper products, tissues and paper towels, and wax-lined coffee cups are also permitted.

Avoid recycling plastic bags of any variety, regardless of bin type or whether or not they are compostable. Diapers, dog feces, and sanitary products must also never be included. The Green Bin Program page on the City of Ottawa’s website provides extensive details of what is and isn’t permitted, as well as instructions on how to avoid pick-up problems. Be sure to consult it for further details.

How Does It Make A Difference?

Collected each week every year without fail, Ottawa’s Green Bin Program enables this ever-growing city to efficiently maintain landfill waste and pollutant levels by helping to eliminate the unnecessary wastage of compostable goods and materials. It is designed to minimize pollution in the form of methane and leachate gases normally found in landfills, and gives back to the environment and local businesses through conversion to nutrient-rich fertilizer. As a result, residents collectively improve their positive impact on the environment through careful and eco-friendly practices that mitigate the need for pollutant-rich landfills and dumps. The Green Bin Program offers a long-term, sustainable environmental management strategy for Ottawa by enabling us to manage waste levels more consistently, repurposing our waste to reduce our environmental footprint.

In 2008, Statistics Canada reported that Canadian households were producing 12.9 million tonnes of waste. Of that amount, 4.4 million tonnes were diverted to recycling and/or composting programs. In 2011, 61% of households had participated in composting of some variety — up 38% from 1994. It is clearer than ever that Ottawa’s Green Bin Program and similar programs in other major cities are beginning to make a major impact on our environmental footprint. If we continue to embrace such programs, our future will be brighter than ever.

Unsure where an item goes? Use the city’s Waste Explorer tool to find out.

Energy Reduction Programs

Energy Reduction Programs and Incentives in Ottawa

As part of the City of Ottawa’s effort to minimize our impact on the environment, various incentives and programs have been put in place to reduce energy consumption. Below is a list of Ottawa’s energy reduction programs and initiatives and how you can join the cause to make a difference.

Peaksaver PLUS Program

Hydro Ottawa’s voluntary Peaksaver PLUS® program has been specifically designed to alleviate demands imposed on the city’s electricity system during critical peak periods. Specialized programmable devices featuring thermostats and energy displays are installed to monitor usage and reduce your home’s energy consumption by staggering operations of enrolled appliances and systems. For example, signals can be sent from Peaksaver® devices to enrolled central air conditioning systems to pause operations for 18 minutes and released to run for 12 minutes in intervals spanning a maximum of four hours. Designed to only activate on days when the electricity grid may become stretched or reach high consumption levels, the Peaksaver PLUS® program will only operate for a maximum of 10 separate 4-hour activations between May 1st and September 30th. The previous Peaksaver® program delivered 110 megawatts of demand savings — equivalent to the power consumption of a medium-sized city. Be sure to visit the program's Hydro Ottawa webpage for more details on the program and how to enroll.

LEED Incentive Initiative

Administered by the Canada Green Building Council, the Leadership in energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program aims to promote green living by providing various financial incentives and credits for construction or renovations with environmental friendliness in mind. City Council directs staff to develop options for private and commercial properties that achieve LEED certification.

Poolsaver Program

In an effort to minimize summer energy consumption, Hydro Ottawa has spearheaded the Poolsaver program, which provides homeowners with a financial return for investing in an energy efficient pool pump. Those who replace a constant-speed pool pump with a variable-speed alternative receive a $400 rebate. By participating, you’ll end up saving $2,960 in electricity costs in over 10 years while helping to minimize Ottawa’s energy usage at the same time. Participants must be a single-family residential customer of Hydro Ottawa or Renfrew Hydro, own an in-ground pool with a constant-speed pump motor. They must purchase a qualifying variable-speed pump from a participating vendor, and have that same vendor or their contracted installer set it up. Consult the program's webpage for further details.

Heating & Cooling Incentive

As much as 60% of a home’s energy usage goes towards heating and cooling, and Hydro Ottawa’s Heating & Cooling Incentive aims to rectify that. Homeowners who meet eligibility requirements and deal with a participating contractor can receive up to $650 if they install an ENERGY STAR® certified central heating and cooling system ($250 to $400 for central air and $250 for furnaces). View the program's webpage for more information and to see if you meet the eligibility criteria.

By participating in any or all of these programs, not only will you drastically reduce your energy bills and receive financial reimbursement, but you’ll also contribute towards the City of Ottawa’s efforts to further lower energy and electricity consumption. Green living has never been so easy and richly rewarding.

What You Can Do

For A Greener Ottawa

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Compost

    Use the city-provided green, blue, and black bins to divert garbage from landfills. Consider starting a backyard compost.

  • Greenify Your Home

    Upgrade to high-efficiency appliances, lighting, and low-flow toilets. Practice water conservation. Use sustainable building materials.

  • Live Your Best Life

    Run along the Ottawa River. Plant a tree. When winter comes, go skating along the Rideau Canal. Observe, explore, and honour our natural, local environment.

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