Your waste questions, answered


Over the last few weeks, Ottawa residents have been responding to our call for feedback on three options for curbside garbage collection in our new Solid Waste Master Plan. Read on for answers to some of your most common questions. You’ll get insight into what we can do as a municipality versus what other levels of government are responsible for, and about what’s to come in the next phase of Waste Plan engagement in the fall.

garbage and waste bins set out at the curb in front of a house on a sunny day.

When it comes to waste, who’s responsible for what?

The City is responsible for collecting waste in residential areas and managing that waste once it has been collected. But when it comes to issues like industrial and commercial waste management or encouraging producers to take greater responsibility for their packaging, the City isn’t the authority.

Here’s what each level of government does:


  • Municipalities typically manage the collection, recycling, composting and disposal of residential household waste.


  • Provincial and territorial governments are the main regulatory authority for waste management in Canada.
  • They can introduce goals for their province, such as targets for diverting recyclables or food and organics from the landfill.
  • They can introduce policies on individual producer responsibility to make the producers responsible for collecting and recycling specific materials. In Ontario, such a policy is currently in the works for products and packaging that have been covered by Blue Box and Black Box programs as well as for household hazardous waste. Such policies are already in place for electronics, tires and batteries.


  • The federal government controls the international and interprovincial movement of hazardous waste.
  • They identify best practices to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions through the management of waste.
  • They provide funding for pilot projects and major waste infrastructure.
  • They also collaborate with other levels of government on matters of mutual concern, such as the management of plastics.

Why are we only talking about curbside garbage collection right now? There’s so much more to discuss!

We couldn’t agree more. Curbside garbage collection is just the beginning and we will be broadening the conversation soon! We’re focused on curbside garbage collection right now so we can carefully consider important options that could change the way residents place garbage out for collection.

We’ll launch the engagement series on the rest of the Waste Plan options in the fall. We’ll ask for your input on a wide range of topics, such as how to divert more waste from the landfill, how to reduce and reuse, how to improve waste collection in multi-residential buildings and parks, how to better manage food and organics waste, and much more.

To stay up to date, continue to follow us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up for the Solid Waste Master Plan e-newsletter.

Have your say

You have until Sunday, September 12 to complete our survey on three options for curbside garbage collection. You can also participate in one of our online workshops:

Your feedback will help create a waste management system we can all feel good about – one that serves your needs while working towards a zero waste Ottawa that will protect the environment for future generations.