Committed to reducing waste and improving the city of Ottawa’s waste management practices and contributing to a greening of the city by supporting the development of new and improved waste diversion programs.

Helpful Hints From Councillor Gower and City of Ottawa

Since so many of us are staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a great time to get a little spring cleaning done. But how do you do that and still keep yourself and everyone else safe. We’re offering a few tips.

Spring cleaning

  • GLAD Cleaning the Capital Spring Campaign activities will be delayed until further notice
  • Stay home and restrict all non-essential activities
  • Limit cleaning projects to your own property
  • Only members of the same household should be involved, don’t get together with friends or neighbours
  • Wear protective material on your hands such as gloves or plastic bags
  • Use a picker if available to avoid using hands
  • Collect litter into plastic bags and tie up when filled
  • Put filled litter bags into your household waste on collection day
  • Do not touch your face at any time during cleaning
  • Wash your hands immediately following cleaning
  • Never touch a needle with your hands. Follow safe pickup procedures, or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) for assistance
  • If you live in a multi-unit dwelling, do not participate in any outdoor cleaning unless physical distancing of 2 meters can be maintained at all times
  • If you have traveled recently or are ill, remain inside. You should not be participating in outside activities where there is a chance you may come in contact with someone else.
  • If you’re over 70 you should self-isolate and not participate in any outdoor cleaning activities

Donation bins

  • Don’t take items to donation bins
  • Most charities are not picking up donations from those bins, so after a day or two, your dropped off items start to go moldy and are no longer able to be considered as donatable items
  • Set aside your items somewhere on your property for a later date

Large or bulky items

  • Don’t dispose of large or bulky items like furniture, mattresses or couches. This allows collection operators to do their job efficiently and maximize their physical distancing so they can stay safe while they continue providing this essential service for you.

Leaf and yard waste

  • Leave the leaves alone. It’s good for pollinators.
  • Many native bees or are just waking up from their winter rest. Bees and other beneficial insects spend the winter in leaf litter and dead plant stems. Give them until late spring to emerge from their slumber before you clean up your yard. While you’re waiting, you may want to look into other pollinator-friendly gardening tips from the Canadian Wildlife Federation(link is external) or Wild Pollinator Partners(link is external).
  • Stagger your leaf and yard waste material by not setting out more than 2 or 3 bags per week

Household Hazardous Waste

  • Do not dispose of hazardous material in your garbage.
  • Safely store them until a scheduled hazardous waste depot has been scheduled.
  • Visit for updates on dates and locations.

Q: Why are we asking residents to hold on to large items of garbage?

A: Since physical distancing has been recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Ottawa Public Health, residents are staying home and undertaking spring cleaning that result in extra waste being set out at the curb.  Heavy, bulky items at the curb are a challenge for collectors and require extra time to manage safely. To allow the collection operators to focus on regular household waste during this time, this will help the staff to do their job efficiently and maximize their physical distancing.

Q: If I place large items at the curb will it still be collected?

A: Yes, the items will still be collected. This is not a directive, it’s a request to be kind and considerate during these times and to help your collection operator to complete their routes in a timely manner.  Heavy, bulky items at the curb are a challenge for collectors and require extra time to manage safely.

Q: We are asked to hang on to our large items and we have no space to store them, where can I dispose of the items when the landfill site is closed?

A: The Trail Road Waste Facility is currently closed to the public. We are currently installing new infrastructure at our scale house which may allow us to open the landfill site to the public. However, at this time we are keeping the landfill site closed to protect staff and the public during the pandemic. We encourage residents to visit for any updates.

Q: Are there private landfills that are open to the public?

A: Visit for a list of private landfills. We encourage residents to call ahead to confirm they are still open.

Q: Why are we taking these measures?

A: These measures are taken to ensure we protect our staff and the public during the pandemic and to continue to provide the essential waste collection service.

Q: If I was to set out more that 2-3 bags of leaf and yard waste, will it be collected?

A: Yes, as mentioned earlier, this is a request not a directive. By equally staggering the set out of your leaf and yard waste material to not more than 2-3 bags per week, this will allow your waste collection operators to complete their job efficiently, maximize their physical distancing and continue to provide this essential service to residents.