Three-item limit coming for curbside waste collection

Published on
May 29, 2024
Garbage and recycling

Starting Monday, September 30, the City will be implementing a three-item garbage limit for residents who receive curbside waste collection. This limit includes residents whose waste is collected in one shared location – often called a common pad – and those living on agricultural properties.

Ottawa has had a six-item garbage limit in place since 2007. This limit has been far more generous than many municipalities, including neighbouring communities around our city. The new limit helps us extend the life of our Trail Road Waste Facility Landfill as we explore new options for waste disposal.

What is considered an item in this new three-item garbage limit?

An item includes the following:

  • a plastic waste bag
  • a bin with a maximum capacity of up to 140 litres. Households can put several waste bags in a bin as long as the weight is less than 33 pounds (15 kilos) per bin.
  • Furniture or bulky item that can’t be re-used or donated

Examples of acceptable three-item combinations include:

  • one 140-litre bin, a plastic waste bag and a broken chair
  • three 140-litre bins
  • three plastic waste bags
  • two 140 litre bins and one broken vacuum

Leaf and yard waste stored in paper leaf and yard waste bags do not count towards the limit. There will continue to be no limit to how much residents can set out through green, blue and black bins.

an infographic depicting acceptable set outs of waste as mentioned above.

Yellow bags for excess waste

If your waste habits are anything like most Ottawa residents, you likely won’t experience any impacts on regular collection days. For those who need to go above the three-item limit, yellow bags can be purchased at participating retailers, including Home Hardware stores and Building Centres later this year, for $17.60 for a package of four. There is no limit to the number of yellow bags that are set out for collection.

Agricultural properties and other special considerations

The new three-item garbage limit will still apply to agricultural properties with residential homes who receive curbside collection. Residents will have opportunities to set out unavoidable farm waste without needing a yellow bag from Tuesday, April 1 to Saturday, May 31. This exemption is only available for agricultural properties already participating in all waste diversion programs, such as the blue, black and weekly green bin programs.

Other special considerations are available for residents who need to dispose of special items, such as home healthcare waste and diapers. 

Tips for waste reduction

More than half of waste set out on garbage day can be recycled, composted or even reused. Outside of the City’s recycling and composting programs, there are a variety of programs and community groups that can give many of your unwanted items a second life.

  • An unwanted item in your home might be high on your neighbour’s wish list. Many neighbourhoods have Buy Nothing groups, where members can post items to give, free of charge, to those who want them. Be sure to check Facebook or other local forums to see if there is one active in your community.  
  • Have an item you want to get rid of, but are unsure where it can be safely disposed? Check out the Waste Explorer. It can direct you to which bin an item goes in, or if it should be taken to a retailer running a Take It Back! program. You can visit the Waste Explorer online, or via the Ottawa Collection Calendar mobile app available for both Apple and Android devices.
  • The City also hosts several events throughout the year where you can dispose of specialty waste, such as electronics or hazardous waste or even get an item repaired. Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste and Electronic Waste events can be found by visiting the City’s Hazardous waste and special items webpage. The City has also sponsored several Repair Café events throughout the year. At these events, you can get an item assessed and repaired where possible by a volunteer from Ottawa Tool Library.

For more information on City programs and services, visit, call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) or 613-580-2400 to contact the City using Canada Video Relay Service. You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter (formerly X) and Instagram.