City of Ottawa rethinking garbage - have your say



Waste Plan options engagement has started and Curbside Garbage Collection Options are up first!

Complete the survey (located below) and/or participate in a workshop to have a say in how garbage gets collected from your home in the future.

This survey focuses on just three Waste Plan options to help us increase waste diversion from the landfill. All other Waste Plan options will be presented for engagement in the Fall and will include ideas to reduce and reuse waste, improve collection of waste in multi-residential buildings and parks, improve the management of food and organics, and much, much more!!

Reducing garbage at the curbside is crucial to help achieve our vision of a Zero Waste Ottawa.

More than half of what people in Ottawa throw in the garbage could be recycled or composted.

If we rethink how we collect garbage at the curb, we can reduce emissions, extend the life of the landfill, and turn more waste into new products and resources.

The options we’re exploring include partial pay-as-you-throw (PAYT), clear garbage bags with material bans and reduced firm item limits. The survey below, along with each of the workshops, gives residents the ability to voice their opinion on each of the options. Whether you are for or against the options below, we want to hear from you!


Survey


Workshop Sign-up






Option #1 - Partial Pay-As-You-Throw for Garbage A partial Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) program for garbage is a collection policy that requires households to pay for garbage collection based on the volume or number of bags/items set to the curb. With partial PAYT, residents can place a set number of garbage items at the curb. If additional garbage items need to be disposed of, households can pay a fee for each additional item set out above the limit. This is usually done through the purchase of tags for the extra items. Curbside households pay for garbage collection and processing through the Solid Waste User Fee issued with the annual property tax bill. This advance payment for service creates little connection for residents between what they pay and the amount of garbage they produce. Studies have found that this tends to result in households producing and disposing of more garbage than they would if they paid for disposal with each garbage set-out. What would this mean for me financially? If this option was introduced, homeowners could see their garbage fee increase by up to 38 cents per month ($4.50 per year). This increase would pay for ongoing outreach and education and operational costs. It does not include the cost for residents to purchase additional bag tags. Municipalities with a partial PAYT program in Ontario typically charge between $2 - $3 per tag and this is set to recover costs associated with collecting, transporting, processing and disposing of household waste. If material bans (of recycling and organics) are added with this option, homeowners could expect to see their garbage fee increase by approximately 67 cents more per month ($8 more per year) due to the additional cost to process the larger amount of recyclables that could potentially be diverted with this policy. What would I have to do differently when setting out my garbage? You would continue to use garbage bags or containers to set your garbage out to the curb for collection. Garbage bags and containers would need to continue to comply with the size and weight parameters in the City’s Solid Waste Management By-law. If you have more garbage items than the program allows, you would need to purchase a garbage tag for each additional item. Note that recycling, organics, and Leaf and Yard waste will still get collected without any tags and with no limits. Potential benefits of this option ● Encourages equity among users by charging fees to individual households based on the amount of garbage disposed. Treating garbage like a “utility”, similar to electricity and gas consumption, allows customers to have control over what they pay by controlling what they consume and what they put in the garbage. ● Provides residents with the flexibility to dispose of excess garbage by purchasing garbage tags, compared to a firm bag limit that does not permit additional garbage bags to be disposed of at the curb. ● Households exceeding the garbage limit pay for what they dispose. Residents that divert all they can won’t have to subsidize those who are not. ● The policy can be enforced by the collection contractor at point of collection by only collecting bags within the designated limit and with a garbage bag/tag. Key considerations with this option ● This program may be viewed as unfair by residents and purchasing tags may be difficult for low-income households. ● Some residents may find the cost negligible and purchase tags for easy and convenient participation in garbage set-out, therefore “buying their way out” of participating in waste diversion programs. ● Pairing a partial PAYT program with a set out limit or material ban can reduce the risk of residents buying their way out of participating in recycling and Green Bin programs. ● The price of garbage tags will need to be established on a cost recovery basis and cannot be revenue generating. Municipalities with a partial PAYT program in Ontario charge between $2 - $3 per tag. ● The City will need to develop a system for the purchase and distribution of garbage tags through various channels.





Option #2 - Clear Bags for Garbage What are Clear Bags for Garbage? A clear garbage bag program requires households to use transparent bags for curbside garbage collection. The intention with the policy is that it encourages residents to separate their waste. A clear bag allows collection contractors and enforcement staff to see if residents put divertible material and items in their garbage. A clear bag program is often coupled with recycling and organics bans. This means that residents would not be able to place recyclables or food and organic waste into the clear garbage bags. Recyclables or food and organic waste would need to be placed into the recycling and green bins. This helps ensure that only non-recyclable garbage ends up in the landfill. What would this mean for me financially? If this option was introduced with a recycling and organics ban, homeowners could see their garbage fee increase by up to $1 per month ($12 per year). The fee increase would support ongoing program oversight, enforcement, and additional costs associated with processing recyclables and turning organic waste into nutrient-rich compost. What would I have to do differently when setting out my garbage? Your garbage would need to be set out at the curb in purchased clear bags on collection day, rather than the typical black garbage bags used currently. Households will need to ensure recyclables and organic material are separated from the garbage and disposed of in the appropriate bin. Potential benefits of this option ● Most effective policy to pair with material bans as collection staff can identify the content of the garbage bags. ● Increased worker safety as collection staff can identify and avoid hazardous items (sharp glass, needles, tin edges, etc.). Key considerations with this option ● Privacy concerns are cited as the most pressing issue with a clear bag policy. Due to this, many municipalities permit the use of an opaque privacy bag to conceal waste items at the homeowner’s discretion (either one small privacy bag inside each clear bag, or one full-sized privacy bag each set out). ● Surveyed municipalities indicated residents were concerned with having leftover black garbage bags and that clear bags might cost more. ● Surveyed municipalities experienced residents attempting to use tinted bags instead of clear garbage bags.





Option #3 - Reduced Firm Item Limit What does a reduced firm item limit mean? A “firm” garbage limit restricts the number of garbage items (bags, containers and bulky items) that can be placed out for collection. Any garbage items above the firm limit are left at the curb. Ottawa currently has a 6-item garbage limit on what residents can put out bi-weekly. By reducing this limit this option would allow us to build upon this current collection policy. For perspective, currently in Ottawa: • The average garbage item set-out is 4.18 items or less every 2 weeks • 85% of households set out 4 items or less every 2 weeks • 81% set out 3 items or less every 2 weeks • 71% set out 2 items or less every 2 weeks A firm garbage limit is only effective when set below the average household set out. What would this mean for me financially? If this option was introduced, homeowners could see their garbage fee increase by up to 38 cents per month ($4.50 per year). This increase would pay for ongoing outreach and education and operational costs. If material bans (of recycling and organics) are added with this option, homeowners could expect to see their garbage fee increase by approximately 67 cents more per month ($8 more per year) due to the additional cost to process the larger amount of recyclables that could potentially be diverted with this policy. What would I have to do differently when setting out my garbage? The City currently allows households to set up to 6 garbage items to the curb for collection every 2 weeks. With this policy residents would only be allowed to set out the reduced garbage item limit. Garbage items would need to continue to comply with the size and weight 3 parameters in the City’s Solid Waste Management By-law, which is 15kg (33lbs) per garbage item. Potential benefits of this option ● An item limit is already in place at the City and this option would allow us to build upon that 6-item collection policy. ● Encourages residents to become aware of how much garbage they are setting out for collection. ● Municipalities with a firm bag limit in place reported that residents had little to no issues in complying with the program. Key considerations with this option ● Residents with garbage exceeding the limit will need to hold onto the waste until the next garbage collection, bring the waste to Trail Waste Facility for disposal, or make alternative arrangements to dispose of the waste. ● The garbage limit should be set below the City’s current average set-out of 4.18 garbage items bi-weekly to encourage participation in diversion programs.





How could these options increase the waste diversion rate? Partial Pay-As-You-Throw for Garbage: If partial PAYT was implemented in Ottawa, our garbage per capita could reduce by up to 28% and our curbside waste diversion rate could increase by up to 6%. Clear Bags for Garbage: If this option were implemented in Ottawa, and coupled with recycling and organics bans, it has the potential to increase the diversion rate by up to 10 per cent. This means we could see the per capita garbage disposal reduced by up to 33 per cent. Reduced Firm Item Limit: If implemented in Ottawa, this option has the potential to reduce our garbage per capita by up to 11% and increase our diversion rate by up to 5 per cent.

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