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Green living

GLAD Cleaning the Capital

Cleaning the Capital is a citywide cleanup campaign that occurs in the spring and fall of every year.

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Litter

Ottawa prides itself on being a clean, green, litter and graffiti-free city. Residents and visitors enjoy natural settings, an abundance of green space, plenty of parks and recreation trails. But just like in any community, litter is an ongoing concern.

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Adopt-A-Park, Adopt-A-Roadway

Adopt-a-ParkAdopt-a-Roadway

Adopt-a-Park or Roadway is a city-wide program that encourages community involvement in the care and maintenance of our parks and roadways. It is a partnership between volunteers and the City. The program is open to community groups and individuals of all ages who want to take an active role in enhancing the quality of life in our community.

Volunteers take on park or roadway clean up projects to improve safety, the environment and to keep the City clean and  green, and free of  litter and graffiti. Also, by removing the debris and litter from the City streets, it ultimately protects the water quality of our rivers and fish habitats.

The volunteers’ involvement in clean up projects needs to be a minimum of twice a year - once in the spring and once in the fall. The City asks individuals and groups to make a long-term commitment of of two to five years to provide continuity to the program. To acknowledge these important efforts, each park or roadway is furnished with a sign presenting the name of the adopting individual or group. The sign is displayed for the adopting period.

The Adopt-a-Park or Adopt-A-Roadway  program is in its 20th year with 172 parks and 136 roadways adopted in the City of Ottawa. Residents, schools, community groups, and businesses have participated in hundreds of clean up projects since the program’s creation.

The Adopt-a-Roadway program has expanded to include the adoption of community gateways and roundabouts. Currently, only single lane roundabouts are being considered,  and all requests are subject to the approval of the City. These adoptions are also subject to additional safety rules and regulations; please contact the Adopt Coordinator if interested. 

Learn more about the program and join in:

Other activities

Four clean up projects over two years is the minimum commitment but you don't have to stop there! Your group can engage in a whole range of activities depending on the amount of work and time you wish to devote to your park or roadway. Other activities could include:

  • Graffiti removal

Participate in graffiti removal projects in your neighbourhood for a clean, safe and graffiti-free city.

  • Tree Planting
    A great way to beautify your park!
  • Park Furniture
    Re-stain park furniture such as benches, picnic tables and litter baskets.
  • Park Inspections
    Inspect your park for vandalism such as graffiti and damaged furniture, park equipment and buildings. Call 3-1-1 to report any park deficiencies!
  • Donations
    Donate furniture such as picnic tables and benches for your park.

The City's role

The City of Ottawa works with its volunteers to:

  • Help you choose a park or stretch of roadway to adopt
  • Coordinate other projects your group may wish to undertake

And:

  • Provides you with free supplies such as garbage bags, gloves, yard waste bags, and graffiti removal supplies for each clean up
  • Lends you tools
  • Picks up collected litter if required
  • Responds to any reported deficiencies

Safety measures

Your safety as a volunteer is our main concern. As the work is located in parks and along the edge of roadways, there are some hazards involved, but following a few important steps will help ensure your safety.

Safety Do's

  • Do work only in daylight and fair weather.
  • Do car pool if possible and park a safe distance from the pavement edge when working on a roadway.
  • Do walk facing traffic for increased visibility.
  • Do be sun safe.
  • Do leave tied garbage bags well off the roadside, visible to road crews.
  • Do cross the road only at pedestrian crosswalks.

Safety Don'ts

  • Don't pick up litter or debris from the roadway surface, median, or close to the edge of the roadway.
  • Don't pick up anything you believe may be hazardous. Flag the area and call the City at 3-1-1 for pick-up.
  • Don't bring along small children or pets when working on a roadway.
  • Don't work during peak rush hours on a roadway.
  • Don't distract drivers.

Before you start working, the group leader should examine the site to determine if conditions are appropriate for the ages and abilities of the participants.

Become a volunteer

To become a volunteer or for more information on the Adopt-a-Park or Adopt-a-Roadway Program please contact:

Adopt Program
100 Constellation Cr, 5th floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K2G 6J8
Tel.: 3-1-1
TTY: 613-580-2401
E-mail: adopt@ottawa.ca

Going green at work

Follow these tips to help your office benefit financially and environmentally.

Recycle furniture and equipment

  • Donate your used furniture
  • Donate used computers to schools, charitable organizations or small businesses.
  • Consult Electronic Waste disposal best practices before throwing out electronics such as televisions, computers, phones, and printers

Check out the City's Take it Back program, to find businesses that recycle and reuse furniture, equipment, hazardous waste and other items.

Reduce electricity use

  • Turn off any unnecessary lights
  • Set your computer to sleep mode when you leave for meetings, lunch or at end of day
  • Change light bulbs to energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs
  • If not using a programmable thermostat, turn down heating or air conditioning one hour before the end of the workday
  • Turn off any machinery when not in use
  • Buy equipment with Energy Smart labels
  • Replace CRT monitors with LCD monitors

Reduce water use

  • Fix leaking taps
  • Replace toilets with low-flow models
  • Replace taps and showers with low-flow fixtures
  • Use drought resistant plants in landscaping; water early in day to reduce loss due to evaporation

Replace disposables with durables

See the examples below:

Disposable

Durable replacement

Foam coffee cups

Coffee mugs

Small plastic bottles of water

Tap water, drinking glasses and reusable water bottles

Plastic bags

Cloth, reusable bags

Plastic utensils

Stainless steel cutlery

Styrofoam plates and bowls

Sturdy plates and bowls

Sustainable Paper Practices

  • Print on both sides of the page
  • Save scrap paper and turn it into notepaper
  • Only print in colour when necessary

Buy local products

When you purchase products that are produced locally, it keeps cash in the community, saves money with lower transportation costs and is better for the environment.

Hold green meetings

  • Teleconference or meet virtualy when circumstances permit
  • Encourage participants to bus, bike, or carpool when feasible
  • Use electronic meeting invitations and online registration
  • Send and share documents electronically and encourage participants to print only what they need
  • Use a projector to display meeting materials and minimize waste
  • Electronically display one copy of the agenda to avoid making copies
  • Encourage meeting participants to bring and use their laptops
  • Ensure recycling and green bins are placed in high traffic areas for participants who bring food or drink
  • At the end of the meeting, turn off all equipment and lights

Going green on your commute

Getting around Ottawa in an environmentally friendly way has never been easier. Here is how you can reduce your environmental impact when commuting to your destination!

OC Transpo

Taking public transit in Ottawa is affordable and easy. Use OC Transpo’s fast and convenient service to avoid the stress of rush hour traffic and save money on gas and parking. Take advantage of the O-train or Transitway to enjoy rapid transit to most destinations or a quick transfer to local routes. 

Use OC Transpo’s Travel Planner to help plan your route. Combine driving with transit to reduce the distance travelled alone in your car. Find a Park and Ride station near you and use the Rack and Roll feature to combine cycling and transit options.

Active Transportation

Use Ottawa’s 230 km of multi-purpose pathways to cycle, run, walk or inline skate your destination.

For a helpful guide on how to actively get around Ottawa, check out the City of Ottawa’s Cycling Map or use GeoOttawa to find an ideal route.

Car Pooling 

Visit Ottawa Ride Match to be part of a car pooling group and see how you can save time, frustration, and money.

Smart Driving

Need to drive? Increase your fuel efficiency and safety with these simple tips, including driving smoothly, minimizing idling, maintaining proper tire pressure and choosing less polluting car models.

Greening your event

Here are a few tips for event organizers to consider before, during, and after when planning a greener, environment-friendly event!

Before the event

  • Dedicate planning time to set green targets such as amount of waste recycled or composted, visitors travelling by sustainable transportation, or energy saved.
  • Select an event venue that has access to public transportation, cycling and walking routes.
  • Where possible, use electronic advertising, promotion and invitations.
  • Promote environment-friendly travel options - walk, bike, bus, or car pool.
  • Encourage guests to bring reusable water bottles.
  • Confirm how recycling and waste material will be leaving your event. Waste collection is the responsibility of the event organizer.
  • Consider the use of tap water with water fountains, water trucks or water bars and encourage event goers to bring their own water bottles.
  • Train event staff and volunteers on your ‘green’ initiatives.
  • The City of Ottawa loans recycling containers at no charge for small-scale, community events in parks. For more information on recycling containers please contact Centralized Allocations at 613-580-2595 or by email at sports@ottawa.ca.

During the event

  • Provide safe and secure bike parking.
  • Ensure food packaging is returnable, compostable, or recyclable.
  • Locate recycling stations in busy areas that are within close distance to where waste is generated.
  • Have volunteers posted at each recycling station as green ambassadors to help guests deposit waste appropriately
  • Clearly display signage as to where guests can recycle, compost, or dispose of waste and fill their reusable water bottles

After the event

  • Ensure all litter and event waste has been gathered, sorted, and disposed of correctly.
  • Save unused materials for future events.
  • Track and share your success! Brag about how eco-friendly your event was to inspire guests and other event planners!

For more information on holding an outdoor event in Ottawa, please see Planning an Outdoor Special Event in Ottawa.

Green Event Resources

LED Streetlight Conversion Project

The City of Ottawa is dedicated to innovation and efficient energy use. One of the strategic initiatives of the 2015-2018 City Strategic Plan is the Energy Management and Investment Strategy. A component to this strategy’s success is to significantly reduce the electrical consumption of the City’s streetlighting network within the strategy’s timeframe.

The Transportation Department is working to meet this goal through the conversion of its street lighting network to Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. Recent advances in LED technology have made it an attractive replacement to traditional lighting fixtures. On October 14, 2015, the City entered into a partnership with Energy Ottawa, a subsidiary of Hydro Ottawa, who will be completing the conversion. Energy Ottawa will be installing LED lighting and will carry out all on-going maintenance of LED streetlights over the next four years.

The City of Ottawa currently has over 68,000 streetlights made up of either High Pressure Sodium (HPS) or Metal Halide (MH) fixtures. These fixtures account for 17% of the City’s electrical use and cost $7.2 million in annual electricity costs (2014 figures). Streetlight fixtures with the highest energy consumption or highest wattage will be those first converted to LED, decorative light fixtures will not be converted as a part of the project as these are low wattage and therefore do not consume significant amounts of energy. The LED conversion project is city-wide and by the end of the project, up to 58,000 fixtures will be converted to LED.

LED Benefits:

Extensive improvements in efficiency, output, and costs of LED make the technology an attractive replacement to our existing equipment. The conversion is estimated to reduce energy consumption by over 50%. In addition to energy reduction, LED offers the following benefits:

  • Lower maintenance costs: The typical fixtures have life spans ranging from approximately 12,000-18,000 hours. The typical LED life span can range from 50,000 hours up to 100,000 hours.
  • More efficient maintenance: LED fixtures will include sensors which generate automatic notifications when a streetlight fixture has failed. This will reduce the down time of fixtures as well as the number of calls received by residents.
  • Improved monitoring: Automated controls have the ability to record utility consumption data and allow for billing based on actual usage.
  • Greater control: The light output of the LED fixtures can be adjusted throughout their life span, allowing for a more consistent light output, and prolonged life expectancy. A reduction of both up-light and trespass light makes LED more “dark skies friendly”.
  • Better quality light: LED technology provides light which is more equivalent to sunlight than conventional fixtures, improving visibility for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

For Special Consideration:

The City of Ottawa is committed to the responsible implementation of LED roadway lighting technology by ensuring that all street lighting designs adhere to the most current Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) and Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) standards. To meet these standards, as a part of the conversion project, the City will use a control system that further ensures proper light levels on City streets to minimize any environmental impact.

Additionally, the LED fixtures installed as a part of the conversion project will have similar colour temperatures to existing lighting; new temperatures will not be introduced.  For instance:

  • The colour temperature on local residential and collector roads will be approximately 3000 Kelvin, which is similar to High Pressure Sodium (HPS) fixtures currently in use.
     
  • The colour temperature on non residential arterial roads will be 4000 Kelvin, similar to whiter light produced by existing Metal Halide (MH) fixtures.


LED streetlight technology focuses light on the roadway, which reduces light pollution including up light, back light and glare.  Focused lighting contributes to energy savings through reduced light consumption.

The Right of Way Lighting Policy was updated in 2015 and now permits the use of light emitting diode (LED) technology for all City of Ottawa streetlighting infrastructure.

Ottawa’s environmental organizations

A range of not-for-profit organizations and community groups are actively working on projects and programs in Ottawa. The following list only includes organizations whose core mandate relates to environmental issues.

Visit Green Ottawa’s Environmental Directory and the National Capital Green Pages Directory for additional information on publications, events, businesses and other features of Ottawa’s vibrant green scene.

Community Environmental Connections

Name

Website

3i Summit on Environmental Sustainability

www.3isummit.com

Active & Safe Routes to School

www.saferoutestoschool.ca

Canadian Biodiversity Institute

www.biodiversityonline.ca

Canadian Organic Growers, Ottawa Chapter

www.cog.ca/ottawa

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Ottawa Valley Chapter

www.cpaws-ov-vo.org

Canadian Wildlife Federation

www.cwf-fcf.org

Capital VeloFest

www.capitalvelofest.ca

Causeway Work Centre – Cycle Salvation and RightBike

www.causewayworkcentre.org

Clean Air Champions

www.cleanairchampions.ca

Community Energy Network of Eastern Ontario

www.sustainable613.ca

Community Gardening Network of Ottawa

www.justfood.ca/community-gardening-network

Connecting Environmental Professionals

www.cepottawa.org

Constance Bay Annual Shoreline Cleanup

https://facebook.com/CBayShorelineCleanup

Construction Resource Initiatives Council

www.cricouncil.com

Ducks Unlimited

www.ducks.ca

Earth Day Ottawa

www.earthdayottawa.ca

Ecology Ottawa

www.ecologyottawa.ca

Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa

www.evco.ca

EnviroCentre

www.envirocentre.ca

Evergreen

www.evergreen.ca

Faith and the Common Good

www.greeningsacredspaces.net

Federation of Ontario Naturalists

www.ontarionature.org

Fletcher Wildlife Gardens

www.ofnc.ca/fletcher/index.php

Friends of Baxter Conservation Area

www.rvca.ca/careas/baxter

Friends of the Carp River

www.friendsofthecarpriver.com

Friends of the Earth

www.foecanada.org

Friends of the Rideau

www.rideaufriends.com

Friends of Torbolton Sandhills

https://www.facebook.com/friendsoftorboltonsandhills

Green Building Council - Ottawa Region Chapter

www.cagbcottawa.ca

Green Drinks Ottawa

www.greendrinks.org/ON/Ottawa

Green Living Ottawa

www.greenlivingottawa.com

Green Ottawa

www.greenottawa.ca

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital

www.greenspace-alliance.ca

Habitat for Humanity Ottawa ReStore

www.habitatncr.com

Hidden Harvest

www.ottawa.hiddenharvest.ca

Hintonburg Community Association Environment Committee

www.hintonburg.com

Institute of the Environment

www.ie.uottawa.ca

Invasive Species Group

www.issg.org

Just Food

www.justfood.ca

LandOwner Resource Centre

www.lrconline.com

Manotick Culture, Parks and Recreation Association

www.mcpra.ca

Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust

www.mmlt.ca

Mississippi Valley Conservation

www.mvc.on.ca

National Capital Non-Profit Environmental Network

www.sustainable613.ca

Natural Step Canada

www.naturalstep.ca

Nature Canada

www.naturecanada.ca

Nature Conservancy of Canada

www.natureconservancy.ca

OPIRG-Carleton University (Ontario Public Interest Research Group)

www.opirgcarleton.org

OPIRG-University of Ottawa

www.opirg-gripo.ca

The Otesha Project

www.otesha.ca

Ottawa Biosphere Eco-City

www.obec-evbo.ca

Ottawa Centre Eco-District

www.ottawaecodistrict.org

Ottawa Federation of Agriculture

www.ofa.on.ca/about/county-federation-sites/ottawa.aspx

Ottawa Field Naturalists

www.ofnc.ca

Ottawa Food Policy Council

www.ofpc.ca/dev

Ottawa Renewable Energy Coop

www.ottawarenewableenergycoop.com

Ottawa Riverkeeper

www.ottawariverkeeper.ca

Ottawa Stewardship Council

www.ottawastewardship.org

Ottawa Sustainability Fund

https://sites.google.com/site/osfund2006/

Peace and Environment Resource Centre

www.perc.ca

Rideau Roundtable

www.rideauroundtable.ca

Rideau Valley Conservation Authority

www.rvca.ca

Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation

www.rvcf.ca

Rideau Waterway Land Trust

www.rwlt.org

Savour Ottawa

www.savourottawa.ca

Society of Ontario Nut Growers, Eastern Chapter

www.songonline.ca/ecsong

South Nation Conservation

www.nation.on.ca

Sustainable Eastern Ontario

www.sustainable613.ca

Sustainable Enterprise Alliance

www.sustainableenterprisealliance.ca

Sustainable Living Ottawa East

www.sustainablelivingottawaeast.ca

Sustainability Project – 7th Generation initiative

www.sustainwellbeing.net

Sustainable Prosperity

www.sustainableprosperity.ca

The Natural Step Canada

www.naturalstep.ca

Transition Ottawa

www.transitionottawa.ning.com

Tree Canada

www.treecanada.ca

 This page was last updated on August 7, 2015.