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.

Waste Generation and Reduction

In 2018 – the last year that national numbers are available – Statistics Canada calculated that Canadians directly and indirectly generated  959 kgs of residential and industrial, commercial and institutional waste per person.  Only around 27% of the waste generated was diverted into recycling or organics programs.  The vast majority of the waste generated, approximately 73%, was disposed of in landfills, at waste incinerators or exported to the US for landfill disposal. 

Source: Statistics Canada, Solid Waste Diversion and Disposal, 2018

Canada and all industrialized and wealthy countries have a waste problem. 

Anecdotal evidence from a number of municipalities, including the city of Ottawa, show increases in residential garbage generation during the COVID-19 pandemic especially in the form of cardboard from home delivery services. It is unclear whether this is an anomaly that will eventually be reversed as the health protocols are lifted and the economy returns to a more normal pattern.

Waste reduction is a challenge in an economy based on high levels of consumption and convenience with limited product reuse, repair and refurbishment opportunities.

The City of Ottawa however, needs to take waste reduction much more seriously, educating, leading by example, and instituting local measures. There needs to be a significant increase in spending by the city on promotion and education for waste reduction, recycling and waste diversion. It is a long standing scandal that according to city data, it only spends $0.48 / household / year on promotion and education whereas the municipalities surveyed by staff spent 4 to over 10 times the amount ($2.28 – $6.50).