News / Ottawa

No change in policy as a result of Waste Watch Ottawa report

While the city confirmed Waste Watch Ottawa's data about waste diversion in Ottawa, they maintained that they will wait for the province before updating the blue box program

Residents of Sandy Hill in Ottawa are concerned about property standard violations in their neighbourhood, which is home to many students at the University of Ottawa. Garbage storage and collection is an especially touchy subject.

Emma Jackson / Metro Order this photo

Residents of Sandy Hill in Ottawa are concerned about property standard violations in their neighbourhood, which is home to many students at the University of Ottawa. Garbage storage and collection is an especially touchy subject.

The city has responded to a report released in September by Waste Watch Ottawa, saying that while the numbers are correct, it disagrees with the conclusion that the city should do more to improve waste diversion in the short term.

"In general, they have basically said that the numbers we used are right, and are the authoritative numbers," said Duncan Bury, from Waste Watch Ottawa. "Our view is that the city's report confirms our analysis about how mediocre the City of Ottawa's programs are."

Waste Watch Ottawa found that Ottawa was lagging behind other municipalities when it comes to diversion rates. It also called on the City of Ottawa to do more in the short term to increase participation in the blue box and green bin programs.

By doing so, the report claims, the city could extend the life of the Trail Road landfill site beyond 2048.

The city has said that it is waiting until the province's plans are finalized before it invests in new recycling bin programs. The province is currently developing a plan as part of Bill 151 that would see Stewardship Ontario, an industry-backed group, take over 100 per cent of the funding for blue box programs.

"Once Bill 151 is implemented, staff will be seeking council direction on the transition plan to the new model," said Marilyn Journeaux, director of solid waste services.

But that plan is far from finalized, and has not yet gone to the provincial government for final approval. Bury said that with both provincial and municipal elections on the near horizon, it's wishful thinking to assume that a transition plan will be implemented "before 2019, at the very earliest," if at all, considering the possibility of administration change.

Bury says that their group was not calling for major investment, but just for the city to try to increase participation rates in the blue box program it already has.

"We're just simply saying promote the program better," said Bury. "Work more aggressively to get recyclables out of high-rise buildings.

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