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The Integrated Street Furniture Program (ISFP): Sit down and recycle

What are we doing?

We are improving Ottawa’s streetscape. New benches and new waste/recycling containers – blue bin, black bin and garbage – will be installed city-wide over the next few years, replacing the existing mix of makes and models. The program will bring greater comfort for residents and visitors, increased waste diversion and a more common look and feel.

Most areas will benefit from a standard bench and a garbage/recycling bin that has advertising on it. The furniture is supplied, serviced and managed by an external company. Bins and benches in the downtown core, on traditional mainstreets, as well as in Ottawa’s Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) will stay free from advertising. They will also look different. The City is responsible for providing and maintaining them.

Why are we doing what we are doing?

The City’s decisions regarding street-furniture are based on social, functional, visual, financial and operational considerations. All bins and benches must comply with the guidelines specified in the Council-approved ISFP report.


Ottawa’s bins and benches provide essential services to residents and visitors. We aim to deliver the best service possible for an ageing and diverse population. The Integrated Street Furniture Program follows municipal and provincial accessibility rules and complements Ottawa’s Older Adult Action Plan.


With the new garbage/recycling bins, we are aiming to increase waste diversion while minimizing the impulse to litter. Similar to the benches, the bins need to withstand Ottawa’s weather conditions. That is why we are testing their durability over the winter.


We are striving to give the City’s street furniture a more consistent look and feel. This will improve Ottawa’s streetscape, while reflecting the character of individual areas. Beautification programs also enhance safety and security.


The Integrated Street Furniture Program generates revenue through advertising on bins in most areas within the city limits. The City will use this money to purchase high quality, low maintenance street furniture for those areas where ads on bins are not allowed.


An inventory of bins and benches is easier to manage and maintain. This has an impact on costs and resources. In addition, there are our specific, mostly winter-related needs. For example, waste collection crews need to be able to access the materials from the top of a bin, since doors can be blocked by snow and ice build-up.

ISFP: Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How many bins and benches do we have in Ottawa?

Currently, there are approximately 1,300 bins and 1,000 benches on City-owned sidewalks (right-of-way). This doesn’t include the bins and benches in our parks or on NCC property.

Why do we need different bins and benches for different areas?

One size doesn’t fit all. Street furniture should reflect an area’s character. Ottawa is a diverse city, and certain parts have a distinct identity that warrants a specific appearance. However, for the sake of a more common look and feel and for better manageability, the City needs to limit the options to a few approved models.

Why is selecting street furniture such a detailed process?

There are many considerations involved. For example, Ottawa’s climate, including long winters and heavy snow are a challenge for usability and maintenance. Design guidelines and requirements are outlined in the ISFP Report approved by Council (2015). The City must also follow rules and guidelines regarding accessibility.

What makes a bin or a bench accessible?

Accessibility is about creating a barrier-free city for all residents and visitors. This applies to services and the built environment. When it comes to benches, an extra armrest placed at one third of the width can help people push themselves up. As for bins, labels must be mounted on the sides, so that wheelchair users can see them.

Will the new bins offer the full range of recycling options?

Yes, glass/metal/plastic and paper will be collected for recycling. One opening serves as a Blue Bin, the other one as a Black Bin, just like the ones most residents use at home. There is also a bin for garbage that can’t be recycled. Organics collection is not part of the Integrated Street Furniture Program.

What should I do with my empty coffee cup?

Used paper coffee cups belong in the garbage unless there is a Green Bin around; plastic lids should also go in the garbage, even if it has the recycling symbol on it. All other drink containers belong in the Blue Bin. Switching to travel mugs or other reusable containers is, of course, always the best option.

What about other items I might want to get rid of?

Here is what people typically throw out when walking down a street or sitting on a bench. For more waste-related information, check our Garbage & Recycling pages and the Waste Explorer.


  • Plastic bottles
  • Glass bottles
  • Soda pop cans
  • Juice cartons
  • Milk cartons
  • Empty plastic clam shells
  • Clean tinfoil


  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Flyers
  • Slips of paper
  • Clean brown bags
  • Cardboard boxes


  • Paper coffee cups*
  • Coffee cup lids
  • Plastic bags
  • Soiled brown bags*
  • Food wrappers
  • Soiled pizza boxes*
  • Styrofoam containers
  • Plastic wraps
  • Leftover food*
  • Cold, thoroughly extinguished cigarette butts
  • Chewing gum*
  • Broken items, e.g. a pen or a toy

*Ideally, these items would go in the green bin. In the absence of a green bin, please place them in the garbage to avoid contaminating recyclable materials.

If you have any other questions, require further information or wish to provide us your feedback, please send an email to sends e-mail).