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Hazardous waste and special items

Disposal of household hazardous waste

Household Hazardous Waste Depots are finished for 2021.

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 and stains and driveway sealers

No need to wait until the next household hazardous waste depot. Select a local retail near you that takes back these items.

Empty paint and aerosol cans

Can be disposed of in your blue bin.

Dried paint

Can go in the garbage.

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:  

25 paint cans equals 100 litres
*maximum 100 litres by volume

  • Aerosol containers
  • Propane cylinders
  • Disinfectants
  • Fluorescent bulbs/tubes
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fertilizers and pesticides
  • Mercury switches/thermometers
  • Motor oil
  • Needles and syringes
  • Oil filters
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Paints and coatings
  • Oven and window cleaners
  • Pool chemicals
  • Gasoline
  • 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.

Read labels:

  • 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.

Thank you for your efforts!

In 2020, you helped divert more than 698 tonnes of hazardous waste from the landfill, including the following items:

  • 58,000 CFL light bulbs and fluorescent tubes
  • 12 tonnes of household batteries
  • 20 tonnes of aerosols
  • 356 tonnes of paint
  • 600 kg of sharps and needles
  • 1.5 tonnes of pharmaceuticals
  • 2,557 large propane cylinders
  • 19 tonnes of pesticides

Household hazardous waste depots make a difference!

698 tonnes of hazardous waste diverted in 2020


Electronic waste

The City of Ottawa does not collect electronic waste (e-waste) as part of its curbside garbage collection.

E-waste accounts for 3000 tonnes or about 300 garbage trucks full of refuse added to our landfills each year. Much of this e-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:

  • Televisions
  • Desktop computers and terminals
  • Monitors
  • 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
  • Radios
  • Telephones, cellphones, answering machines
  • VCR and DVD players

Special items

How to dispose of large, bulky or other items

During COVID-19, we ask that you hold on to bulky items like furniture, mattresses, couches for the months of April, May and June. Minimizing the set out at the curb of your large items and extra waste from spring cleaning, it will allow the collection operators to do their job efficiently and maximize their physical distancing.


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.


Many retailers will accept AA, AAA batteries and rechargeable batteries. Also, check out our household hazardous waste depots

Construction material

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. 

Spent/used fireworks

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

Energy efficient light bulbs can be returned to some local businesses. Visit the Waste Explorer for a retailer near you. The item can also be brought to a household hazardous waste depots.

Fluorescent light bulbs

Bring fluorescent light bulbs to household hazardous waste depots. Or carefully wrap and tape fluorescent light bulbs in the original cardboard container or wrap them in packing material to prevent breakage and you can dispose them in the regular garbage. 

Large, bulky items

During COVID-19, we ask that you hold on to bulky items like furniture, mattresses, couches for the months of April, May and June. Minimizing the set out at the curb of your large items and extra waste from spring cleaning, it will allow the collection operators to do their job efficiently and maximize their physical distancing.


Unused prescription drugs can pose a health risk if not properly disposed. Visit any of our participating pharmacies to have it disposed of. 

Motor oil

Used motor oil can be conveniently returned in your community to a number of business partners.


Paint should be disposed of at one of the City's household hazardous waste depots or by returning it to a retailer.  

Pet waste

The best way to dispose of pet waste is to flush it down the toilet, it will be properly treated when it reaches the sewage plant. Place your cat litter material in the green bin. Otherwise, put it in your regular garbage as long as it is properly wrapped in absorbent paper and placed in a sealed, leak proof bag, mixed with your regular garbage. Quantities should be no more than 10 per cent of your garbage bag or can.  

Smoke alarms

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.

Image of a Needle drop box
Ottawa Public Health provides several ways to properly dispose of needles or crack pipes:

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.

waste collection operator

 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 a.m. 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.