Disposal of household hazardous waste
There are no more Household Hazardous Waste events scheduled for 2023. The 2024 schedule is expected to run from April through October.
Did you know that you can safely dispose of many kinds of household hazardous waste year-round? Items including fluorescent bulbs, batteries, paint and oil, can be returned to participating local retailers during their regular business hours. For a list of retailers who accept returns of household hazardous waste, enter the item in the Waste Explorer.
There are many locations for disposal of batteries in Ottawa. Enter your postal code to find a location near you to bring back your batteries.
Paint, stains and driveway sealers
Empty paint cans
Can be disposed of in your blue bin.
Can go in the garbage.
Empty aerosol cans
Empty aerosol cans with an explosive hazard symbol only can be disposed of in your blue bin. All other aerosol cans are hazardous waste.
What is household hazardous waste?
If it’s corrosive, flammable or poisonous it’s hazardous waste. These types of products contaminate water and landfills and should never be poured down the drain or put out with your regular garbage.
Household hazardous waste materials include:
- Aerosol containers
- Propane cylinders
- Fluorescent bulbs/tubes
- Fire extinguishers
- Fertilizers and pesticides
- Mercury switches/thermometers
- Motor oil
- Needles and syringes
- Oil filters
- Paints and coatings
- Oven and window cleaners
- Pool chemicals
- Perfume and aftershave
Tips to reduce household hazardous waste
Use a non-hazardous alternative
- Environmentally friendly and safer alternatives are available for household cleaning, home improvement and garden care
Be a wise consumer
- If you must purchase a hazardous product, buy only the amount you can use up. Avoid larger quantity, bulk purchases if you don’t need a lot.
- Ensure that the product you purchase does what you want it to do before you purchase it. Once purchased, follow the instructions on the label for safe use, ventilation and storage.
Give leftover hazardous products to someone who can use them
- Relatives, friends, neighbours, community groups and charitable organizations may be able to use some of what you no longer need.
Avoid aerosols whenever possible
- Much of the aerosol product ends up in the air. Purchase safer alternatives. Empty aerosol cans with an explosive hazard symbol only can be disposed of in your blue bin. All other aerosol cans are hazardous waste.
Thank you for your efforts!
In 2022, you helped divert more than 587 tonnes of hazardous waste from the landfill, including the following items:
- 54,000 CFL light bulbs and fluorescent tubes
- 10 tonnes of household batteries
- 248 tonnes of paint
- 17 tonnes of pesticides
- 620 kg of sharps and needles
- 1 tonne of pharmaceuticals
- 2,200 large propane cylinders
- 20 tonnes of aerosols
The City of Ottawa does not collect electronic waste (e-waste) as part of its curbside garbage collection. Much of this waste consists of steel, glass, copper, aluminum, plastics and precious metals that can be recycled and reused.
Drop these items off at participating retailers. Find out where you can return your electronics, by using the Waste Explorer, or you can bring your electronic waste to Trail Road Landfill at no charge.
The following items are not picked up curbside:
- Desktop computers and terminals
- Laptop computers
- Desktop printers
- Fax machines
- Disk drives
- CD-ROM drives
- Keyboards and mice
- Amplifiers, stereos, speakers, receivers
- Cameras, digital cameras
- Copiers, fax machines, scanners
- Pagers, PDAs
- Telephones, cellphones, answering machines
- VCR and DVD players
How to dispose of large, bulky or other items
Use the Waste Explorer to find out where to bring large, bulky items, electronics and hazardous materials for proper disposal.
The City does NOT pick up appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, dryers, dishwashers, hot water tanks, furnaces or oil tanks at the curb. These appliances contain recyclable parts. Residents must make their own arrangements to have them taken away. Check the Yellow Pages under "recycling" for a list of businesses providing this service, or take them back to participating retailers - electronic or household items.
Remember all refrigerators, freezers, air conditioning units and dehumidifiers must have cooling chemicals removed and be tagged by a certified technician prior to being brought to a landfill site. Any items that are not tagged will be refused entry into the site.
Plaster, wood (including pressure-treated lumber), drywall, concrete, asphalt or other waste resulting from building construction, renovation or demolition ARE NOT collected with regular garbage. Bring this material to the Trail Road Landfill Site or to another landfill.
The following companies offer a program for recycling some construction and renovation materials:
Residents must phone ahead before returning an item.
Flares, bullets, explosives, guns and fireworks
Flares, bullets, explosive devices, ammunition, firearms and fireworks can cause severe injury or death, and should never be thrown out with your regular garbage. To dispose of these materials safely, contact Ottawa Police at 613-236-1222. Please do not bring these items to the police station. Police will come and make sure all necessary safety precautions are taken to dispose of these items.
Soak spent/used fireworks in water for 24 hours and dispose of them in your regular garbage.
Glass (windows, drinking glasses, dishes, coffee pots, mirrors, light bulbs, etc.)
For the health and safety of waste collectors, please securely package glass items in a cardboard box and label the box "glass" so that the operator is aware of its contents when placing it in the truck.
Energy efficient light bulbs
Fluorescent light bulbs
Large, bulky items
Large items such as sofas, mattresses and furniture are picked up at the curb. Please put the item out before 7 am on your collection day. Check the Waste Explorer for reuse or recycle opportunities near you.
Unused prescription drugs can pose a health risk if not properly disposed. Visit any of our participating pharmacies to have it disposed of.
Used motor oil can be conveniently returned in your community to a number of business partners.
Visit the Waste Explorer to find out how to properly dispose of pet waste.
Smoke alarms are not hazardous. Place them in your regular garbage for collection. Smoke alarms are not recyclable.
Should be recycled at participating retailers.
What to do with used needles and crack pipes
For health and safety reasons, it is against the law to dispose of your needles, crack pipes (glass stems), in the garbage or recycling, or flush them down the toilet (Solid Waste By-law BY-LAW NO. 2012 – 370 - schedule G)
Garbage is compacted during collection so even when placed in a puncture-proof container, needles, crack pipes or glass stems can be exposed and injure someone.
Children should never touch a discarded needle, crack pipe or other drug paraphernalia. If an adult chooses not to pick up a needle or crack pipe to safely dispose of them, call 3-1-1 to make arrangements to have the City pick them up immediately.
Ottawa Public Health provides several ways to properly dispose of needles or crack pipes:
- Safe handling and disposal of needles(link is external)
- Put them in a Needle Drop Box(link is external)
- Drop them off at select pharmacies
- Drop them off at a Household Hazardous Waste Events
For more information on the location of Needle Drop Boxes, call 3-1-1.
If a needle injury occurs, seek immediate medical attention.
You can help keep me safe!
Please slow down around waste collection trucks.
Safety tips for motorists
- Slow down when approaching a waste collection truck.
- Look out for cyclists, pedestrians, and oncoming vehicles before attempting to pass a waste collection truck. SLOW DOWN TO GET AROUND!
- Remember, trucks make frequent stops. Please keep a safe distance when driving behind a waste collection truck.
Safety tips for pedestrians and cyclists
- Stay back. Trucks have large blind spots, especially at the back and directly along the sides of the truck.
- If you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you. Only cross in front of a truck after you’ve made eye contact with the driver and receive an okay to cross.
Trevor Martelock, Waste Collections Operator, City of Ottawa
"It’s really important for residents to properly dispose of hazardous waste like sharps, chemicals and combustibles and not throw them into their regular garbage."
Tell us about your job. What is a typical day like for you?
I’ve been a waste collections operator for about seven years and it’s the most physically demanding job I’ve done. I start work at 7 am and can lift an average of 12 tonnes of garbage into the truck in one shift. Every day brings different challenges. We can be right on schedule, then suddenly there can be a flat tire, or there could be an engine problem. We are out there every day with 300,000 residents and we need to always be aware of our surroundings. We never know what’s around the next corner.
With so much going on, how do you stay safe on the job?
Safety starts before we even leave the garage. We do pre-trip inspections on the trucks every morning. We also have safety guidelines and protective equipment for when working in and around the trucks. Waste collectors have a lot of responsibility driving very big vehicles down narrow streets. We constantly deal with traffic, bicycles and pedestrians and need to be one-step ahead of everything to avoid dangerous situations. SIPDE rules are top of mind when we’re on the road. SIPDE stands for scan, identify, predict, decide and execute.
What kind of hazards do you come across on the routes?
I’ve seen guys stuck with needles that have been thrown in with regular garbage, poked with nails from renovation materials, or cut by broken glass. I’ve been sliced with razor blades thrown into a plastic bag, and once I came in contact with chlorine gas when someone dumped pool chemicals into their household garbage. It’s really important for residents to properly dispose of hazardous waste like sharp items, chemicals and combustibles and not throw them into their regular garbage.
What is the biggest hazard you face daily?
By far the biggest hazard is other drivers. Getting cut-off happens regularly and the danger of getting hit by a car is always there. One of my co-workers elbow's was hit by a side view mirror on a passing car. Another one of the guys was bumped by a driver trying to go around the truck to get into their driveway instead of waiting. Once a car hit my truck four feet away from where I was standing. The driver ripped a large section out of their door. Luckily no one was injured, but this is what we can face daily.
What is the most important thing you’d like to tell other drivers?
Be aware of your surroundings and please be patient. We’re on the road doing our jobs as safely as possible. We have lives and families outside of work and we’d like to go home to them at night. We also want residents to make it home safely too. If it takes five minutes longer to get to where you’re going, that’s way better than not arriving at all.