A city-wide waste recycling program could help Ottawa get started on the task of cleaning up its waste streams.
That would help the city and its neighbours in its quest to become a greener city.
It also could save money in the long run.
The province and the city have already agreed to share a pool of $5.3 million over the next five years to start up a program to collect and recycle city-owned landfills, and to share waste generated by municipalities, such as roads and streets, and landfilling facilities.
They have also agreed to collaborate on a pilot project to recycle waste at water treatment plants.
Ottawa already has an innovative recycling program in place, which the city announced this month will help reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by about 10 per cent.
But it is unclear how well it will work in a city where most waste is recycled in landfill sites, such an incinerator or landfiller.
The city already has some waste-treatment facilities, and Ottawa says it will start the pilot next month, though it has not specified when.
Council will have to set aside $10 million to implement the pilot program.
It will include building a network of recycling stations and collecting waste in containers that can be easily opened and re-filled.
Ottawa says the pilot is part of a larger plan to eliminate waste from the city’s waste stream.
“The city’s primary aim is to be a sustainable city, and that includes reducing the amount of waste generated, which is important to the health of the planet,” said Jennifer Delahaye, the city manager of waste-retention, recycling and waste management.
“We want to make sure that we have a sustainable and viable waste-recycling system in place.”
Delahaye said the city would begin collecting waste at landfill sites this fall, with the first collection in September.
A pilot will start in November, with more collection planned in December and January.
Ottawa also has an existing waste-collection program in the works, and has also agreed in principle to collaborate to share its waste stream with the province.
The city has already committed $1.5 million to the pilot, and the province has agreed to cover $1 million.
Delahay said Ottawa is considering setting up a new landfill at the same site.
At the moment, Ottawa has around 1,500 sites, of which 1,100 are landfill sites.
But that number will be cut by half, if the city decides to proceed with the pilot.
Under the pilot agreement, Ottawa will also share the pool of waste collected and recycled with neighbouring municipalities, with a cap of 50 per cent of the collected waste, according to the city.
That will allow Ottawa to work with other cities to collect waste that has not been recycled or is not suitable for reuse.
Delaway said the province is not required to take over responsibility for the collection and recycling.
It has agreed that it will continue to collect trash from municipal landfares, but Ottawa is also providing funding for a partnership with other municipalities.
She said the pilot will begin this fall.
In addition to the waste-storage facility, Ottawa is developing an incinerators program to dispose of municipal waste that does not need to be disposed of in landfill sites.
Ottawa plans to build an incineration plant at the site of the City of Gatineau’s former landfill, which was demolished in 2008.
With files from Jennifer Delabaye