Column: Waste Review

Last week, the City of Ottawa released its "Residential Solid Waste Service Level Review". Its purpose, to present proposed service changes to residential curb-side waste pickup. Over the past several days, I have been responding to various emails for and against the proposed changes. Therefore, I will utilize this week's column to explain and, where necessary, clarify the review process and what, in fact, is being reviewed.

In June 2012, the waste collection contracts will be up for renewal. At the outset of the Green Bin program, the idea was that increasing waste diversion efforts would lead to decreased landfill waste. In many cases, this has been true. In a further effort to decrease the amount of waste going into the landfill, City staff have put forward some suggestions that would see changes to waste collection in order to further reach our waste diversion goals. Please keep in mind that these are merely suggestions for the purpose of discussion. The following are the proposed suggestions:

  • Green Bin: Current service is weekly during the spring, summer, and fall and bi-weekly during the winter. City staff are seeking suggestions as to whether or not to provide weekly service year-round or bi-weekly service year-round. Also being studied is the idea of extending Green Bin service to all residents that do not currently receive the service.

  • Recycling: There are two suggestions regarding Blue and Black boxes. The first suggestion is moving from bi-weekly to once a month pick-up. The other suggestion would look at combining all containers and paper into one all-inclusive container. As a personal note, these suggestions merely look at cost savings. I do not believe that reduced recycling pick-up is the answer to greater waste diversion. However, those seeking lower costs may prefer this idea.

  • Garbage Collection: Originally discussed two years ago, the idea of bi-weekly garbage pick-up coincides with the introduction of the Green Bin. The common consensus was that people wanted to move away from landfill usage. Residents wanted to use more waste diversion techniques and create less garbage. Using that theory, the proposed change to bi-weekly garbage pick-up is based on residents diverting more waste into their Green Bin, Blue box, and Black box and putting less at their curb-side each week.

The City has set up a website to discuss these suggested changes. There is an anonymous online questionnaire that you should fill out at Furthermore, there are information sessions where you can fill out the questionnaire in person.

The nearest information sessions to Rideau-Goulbourn are at the following locations:

  • Greely Community Centre - Wednesday, January 12 at 7pm

  • St. Paul’s United Church in Richmond – Tuesday, February 1 at 7:30pm.

  • Walter Baker Centre – Thursday, January 13 5-9pm

  • Carlingwood Mall – Saturday, January 16 10am-2pm

  • Bayshore Shopping Centre – Saturday, January 29 10am-2pm

If you feel more public consultation is necessary, do not hesitate to contact me. I strongly encourage you to fill out the online questionnaire or to email your opinions to

The results from this review will be presented to the Environment Committee. I am a member of this committee and therefore will be able to have a say in what we do going forward. To date, I have received no support for reduced recycling pick-up. With regards to bi-weekly garbage pick-up, though, I have received equal amounts of support and angst toward the idea. I cannot stress this enough, though, that these suggested changes are merely that, suggested changes. Nothing is set in stone and everything is up for debate. We spend over $200 million on our service contracts and this review process is a great opportunity to see what you, the residents, want.

Personally, I have decided to do a trial bi-weekly garbage pick-up run at my own residence. My household consists of two adults and two children. I admit that I have been negligent to my Green Bin since its introduction but I will personally make an effort over the next few months to see if it is possible for me to run my household under the notion that my garbage will only be picked up once every two weeks. It would be very difficult for me to support or oppose something without knowing its effect on our daily lives. If you would like, please do the same and report back to me with your findings.

I wholeheartedly believe in the public consultation process as it relates to waste collection. I very much look forward to your participation in this process. Please fill out the online questionnaire. If you do not have a computer, contact me and I will get you a hard copy of the questionnaire so that I can record it myself.

If you have any further questions about this or any other issue, please contact me at or by phone at 613-580-2491.