Changes to the Green Bin Program

Ottawa residents will be able to use plastic or paper bags to dispose of household organics in the green bin

Ottawa – Using the green bin will become cleaner and more convenient for Ottawa residents this summer. Plastic bags will be allowed as a bagging option for organics in the green bin – such as food scraps, paper towel and tissue, and coffee grinds – beginning July 2. This is in addition to the current options of placing organics in paper bags in the green bin. Pet waste will also be accepted – including dog waste and kitty litter.

Why allow plastic bags?

When asked in a market research survey, sixty per cent of people who seldom use or do not use the green bin said they would participate if plastic bags were allowed. The use of plastic or compostable bags will address the inconvenience and “yuck” factors for residents who are hesitant to use the green bin.

These changes will also make the green bin even more convenient and easier to keep clean. Also, using the green bin takes advantage of weekly pickup, while garbage going to landfill is collected bi-weekly.

The organic waste facility has been retrofitted to rip open the plastic bags and separate the organic waste for composting. The plastic bags are then disposed in the landfill.

Getting more homes participating in the green bin program will divert more organic materials from the landfill and significantly extend its life.

Green Bin Bag Options

If residents choose to use plastic bags to dispose of their organics, the City encourages them to reuse bags that may otherwise be thrown out, such as milk or bread bags. The plastic bag option is just one of many that are tailored to our residents’ comfort level and interest.  The other options include:

  • Paper bags to keep their green bin clean – including leaf and yard waste bags
  • Newspaper linings in the bin and kitchen containers
  • Cereal boxes and milk cartons to contain food waste

The City encourages residents who are using these options to continue their current practices. Residents can explore all options and learn what type of organic materials go into the green bin at ottawa.ca/greenbin.

Why use the Green Bin?

Diverting organic waste from the landfill is in the interest of residents from both an environmental and economic perspective.

Using the green bin, along with other recycling efforts, is one of the easiest things people can do to help our environment. Diverting organic waste from landfill lowers the amount methane – which contributes to greenhouse gases.

In addition, diverting organic waste extends the life of the landfill – which saves millions of City dollars in developing a new landfill site.

Can leaf and yard waste be placed in plastic bags?

Leaf and yard waste cannot be placed in any type of plastic bags including biodegradable/compostable bags. Please continue using paper yard waste bags, or an approved empty container, to dispose of your leaf and yard waste.

Getting a new Green Bin

For residents who have curbside collection but don’t have a green bin, go online to my.service.ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 and one will be delivered to your front door. 

If you live in multi-res building that participates in the program but you don’t have a kitchen container, contact the City by going online to my.service.ottawa.ca or calling 3-1-1.  If your building does not participate in green bin recycling, encourage your property manager or condominium committee to join the green bin program.