Litter

Do your part to keep your community clean!
Put litter where it belongs: in the garbage, in the blue box or black box, or in the green bin or composter.

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.

Keeping Ottawa clean and green is everyone’s responsibility. While the City does its part to keep the community litter-free, we need your help too!

Litter is a serious problem: It affects your health, the environment and the economy.

1. It affects your health

  • Broken glass and metal can be a hazard to children, youth and adults
  • Rotting trash contains germs and diseases, as well as attracts flies, maggots, rats, mice and seagulls for example

2. It affects the environment

  • Small litter items such as rope, nets and fishing line can suffocate or injure wildlife
  • Household hazardous waste, such as motor oil, can get into our rivers and streams and poison fish and wildlife
  • Litter can be washed into our storm sewers, which affects the water quality of our rivers and fish habitat

3. It affects the economy

  • Litter-strewn neighbourhoods can depress real estate prices, hinder economic development and inhibits visitors and tourists

What the City does to keep your community clean

  • During the summer, litter receptacles are emptied regularly by summer students called the “Bucket Beat Brigade,” who also collect litter in the downtown core.
  • Litter is cleaned off of City sports fields every week
  • Litter receptacles and streets receive particular attention during special events, such as parades and statutory celebrations
  • The City has various programs to encourage residents to maintain Ottawa’s beauty including Spring and Fall Cleaning the Capital, graffiti removal and our Adopt-a Park/Adopt-a-Roadway program all of which are free to participate in

What can you do? 

RETHINK GARBAGE. You can help Ottawa meet our goal to reduce, reuse and recycle 40% of our household waste. Follow some of these simple steps to help keep our city clean:

  • Don’t be a LitterBug! Put litter where it belongs – in the garbage, recycling bin, green bin or composter
  • Put your garbage and recycling out on collection day. Check the waste collection calendar for your collection day and make sure to properly package your materials for collection
  • Recycle as much as you can. Recycling is easy and reduces the amount of garbage in our land fields. Recycling is picked up on an alternating week schedule; black box one week (paper/cardboard), blue box the next week (glass/metal/plastic)
  • Donate clothing, household items and furniture to your local thrift store
  • Take it Back! Participating local retailers accept items that are not picked up by the City’s curbside collection including automotive parts and supplies, electronics, garden supplies, health-related products and supplies, and household products. Check the Take it Back! directory for retailers and a complete list of accepted products
  • Recycle plastic bags. As part of Take it Back!, the City has partnered with Metro to offer residents a plastic bag recycling program. View the full list of 19 Metro retailers and other participating businesses
  • Get rid of household hazardous waste properly. Corrosive, explosive, flammable or poisonous items contaminate water and landfills and should never be poured down the drain or put out with your regular garbage. The City of Ottawa operates several one-day Household Hazardous Waste Depots for residents to safely dispose of hazardous waste
  • Use your green bin or composter. Much of the waste we produce is organic and can be put to good use as compost
  • Leaf-and-yard waste is collected every other week between April and November on your regular collection day. When available, compost produced at the Trail Waste Facility can be bought by residents for a small fee. Call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) to confirm availability and cost
  • Show the LitterBug logo to remind others to put litter where it belongs. Contact us for your copy of the LitterBug logo
  • Organize a cleanup project as part of the City’s Spring and Fall Cleaning the Capital campaigns. Participants may request cleanup starter kits (available while supplies last) and are eligible to win prizes donated by campaign sponsors
  •  Participate in the Adopt-a Park/Adopt-a-Roadway initiative which is a citywide program that encourages community involvement in the care and maintenance of Ottawa’s parks and roadways. Participants are acknowledged with a sign displaying the name of the adopting individual or group at the adopted park or roadway, all of which is free

Is litter a problem in your area? Let the City know by contacting us:

By telephone: 3-1-1
By mail: Public Works Department
100 Constellation Drive, 5th floor,
Ottawa, ON, K2G 6J8