- Buy less.
- Avoid unnecessary packaging and individually wrapped items.
- Say no to non-recyclable plastic items like straws, clingfilm or styrofoam.
- Stop buying so-called “convenience food” like pre-packaged meals.
- Create a shopping list before hitting the grocery stores and stick to what you really need.
- Instead of using coffee pods, try making coffee or tea the traditional way.
- Swap paper towels for washable cloths and rags.
- Choose liquid soap or powder over dishwasher and laundry detergent pods.
- Use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets.
- Support restaurants that use recyclable take-out containers.
- Choose to go paperless for your bills, receipts & documents, for example your water bill or property taxes.
- Plan weekly meals to reduce food waste.
- Take inventory of your fridge and pantry, so you are mindful of foods and leftovers that need to be eaten soon.
- Growing your own vegetables helps reduce packaging and energy costs associated with shipping fruits and vegetables globally. You can even do it with limited space, e.g. on a balcony.
- Consider shopping in bulk or at zero waste food stores to save on packaging.
- Use reusable cutlery, dishes and glassware.
- Borrow or rent items as opposed to buying something you may only use once, for example at the Ottawa Tool Library.
- Try and purchase quality clothing that will last, avoid fast fashion.
- Buy rechargeable batteries.
- Use reusable bags, bottles, cups and containers while out and about.
- When making a purchase or disposal decision, consider the most environmentally friendly option.
- Save all your refundable cans and bottles to be returned.
- Shop at second-hand stores.
- Give your household items and furniture a second life by donating them to thrift stores or local charities.
- Regift things you don’t need or swap them with others.
- Always attempt to repair before buying new.
- Use old documents as scrap paper to write notes or lists.
- Keep boxes and shipping material like bubble wrap for the next time you need to mail a parcel.
- Save gift wrap and bags for another occasion.
- Reuse food packaging materials such as bread clips and elastics.
- Join a digital trading, swapping, give-away platform or community group, for example there are many for all purposes on Facebook.
- Get creative and use items found around the house for crafts, e.g. create funky bracelets from plastic bags, lampshades from broken umbrellas, room dividers from CDs, even coffee tables from old windows.
- Use empty glass mason jars as vases, candle jars or to store food in.
- Good at sewing? Upcycle and turn any bland piece of clothing into an eye-catcher.
- Make bird feeders out of plastic bottles.
- Turn old clothes into household rags to replace paper towels.
- Save and wash empty containers (e.g. yogurt containers, ice cream containers…) to use as household kitchenware.
- Participate in the City’s recycling and composting programs to help divert waste from the landfill.
- Make an effort to recycle all plastic containers used around your home, including shampoo and laundry detergent bottles.
- Check out the City of Ottawa's Waste Explorer to find out how to dispose of your household items properly.
- Most household items can be taken back for reuse or recycling to more than 575 retailers in the Ottawa area. Visit the Waste Explorer for a retailer near you
Interested in finding out more?
Invite the Public Works and Environmental Services outreach team to give a presentation about Ottawa’s green bin and recycling programs to your school or community group. All presentations are subject to audience size and outreach team availability.