I spent Friday morning touring two City of Ottawa recycling and waste facilities. The real stars of the show were the birds that are used to keep seagulls out of the Trail Road landfill. Pictured above is Quibbles, a young snowy owl.
We started our day at the Cascades recycling centre on Sheffield Road in the east end. This is where every blue box and black box in the city ends up for sorting. A Rube Goldberg-like assortment of machines including conveyer belts, optical sorters, giant magnets, and lots of human help, separates paper, plastics and aluminum products. The material is compacted into large cubes that are then sold for re-use.
Then we travelled to the Trail Road waste facility (aka the City dump) off Moodie Drive in the west end for a presentation on Ottawa’s waste management programs, followed by a drive around the landfill facility where all of Ottawa’s residential garbage ends up.
A few things we learned:
- Plastic bags cannot be recycled and are a real nuisance to the sorting process. Keep bags of any kind out of your recycling bins.
- Ottawa residents do pretty well when it comes to recycling kitchen items, but have room for improvement when it comes to bathroom recycling (empty rolls of toilet paper, shampoo bottles, etc.)
- Dirty pizza boxes go in the compost, not in the black bin.
- The Trail Road Landfill is expected to reach capacity in 2042.
- You can use the Waste Explorer to find out what to do with everything from acetone and acids to ziplock backs and zucchini.
The City is in the midst of preparing a new Solid Waste Master Plan to guide investments and operations in waste management, diversion and reduction over the next 30 years. You’ll be hearing a lot about waste and recycling from the City over the next few years. Read more…
Thanks to City staff and the team at Cascades for the excellent tour! You can learn more about garbage and recycling programs in Ottawa by visiting Ottawa.ca