Garbage Collection

Ottawa Garbage Collection: Everything You Need to Know

We discuss everything you need to know about garbage collection in Ottawa. From sorting your rubbish and determining which trash bins to use to the schedule for garbage collection and more, you’ll find what you need here!

For a brief overview of everything we’ll be tackling, you may refer to the table below:

Collection TimeCollection FrequencyAcceptable ContainersUnacceptable ContainersBulky ItemsSpecial Waste
-Garbage will be collected no earlier than 6 PM the night before collection day

-Any garbage set out past 7 AM on collection day itself won’t be accepted

-Garbage is collected every 2 weeks

-Green bins are collected weekly

-Recyclables are collected on alternating weeks (blue bin one week, black bin the next)

-Containers must have two handles and a water-tight lid

-Should have maximum 140L capacity

-Plastic grocery bags

-Cardboard boxes

-Containers with fixed lids

-Can be donated to charity organizations if still usable

-Can be handed over to the Ottawa Take It Back! program to be disposed of if unusable

-Medical & hazardous waste (i.e. syringes & phone batteries)


How do you separate garbage in Ottawa?

How do you separate garbage in Ottawa

Garbage is generally separated depending on what kind of material it is. The categories in Ottawa are recyclable containers (yellow triple R can), papers (blue box), organics (green cart), and garbage (bags/cans). 

For a more in-depth look at what rubbish is sorted in each category, you may refer to the table below:

Recyclable containers (Yellow Triple R Can)Papers (Blue Box)Organics (Green Cart)Garbage (Bags/Cans)
-Empty aerosol cans

-Aluminum plates

-Cardboard cans (frozen juice, peanuts, hot chocolate)

-Empty cartons (milk, juice, cream)

-Clamshells (plastic produce & bakery containers)

-Egg cartons (plastic)

-Glass bottles & jars (non-refundable, lids removed)

-Juice boxes

-Paint cans: metal, empty, dry (lids removed)

-Plastic bottles, jugs, tubs & lids (i.e. food & beverage containers, household cleaning products, laundry detergent, shampoo bottles, etc.)

-Pop/juice cans

-Small scrap metal items (utensils, pots & pans, baking sheets, metal coat hangers, small appliances – cords removed) (must fit inside your yellow bin)

-Steel cans

-Yogurt/pudding/apple sauce cups

-Books (soft & hard cover – remove hardcovers)

-Boxboard (cereal, tissue, cracker boxes)

-Brown paper bags

-Catalogues and magazines

-Corrugated cardboard (2ft x 3ft (0.61 x 0.91m) flattened and or bundled)


-File folders

-Frozen food boxes

-Greeting cards

-Junk mail

-Newspaper & flyers

-Paper (colored & white)

-Paper towel rolls (empty)

-Shredded paper (in a clear plastic bag)

-Telephone books

-Toilet paper rolls (empty)

-Tissue paper

-Wrapper paper (Non-metallic)

-Baking ingredients



-Butcher paper


-Coffee filters/grounds

-Cooking oil, grease, fat (solidified)

-Corncobs & cornhusks

-Dairy products

-Drink trays (paper)

-Eggs & egg shells

-Egg cartons (paper)

-Facial tissue

-Fish parts




-Leaf and yard waste

-Meat products

-Microwave popcorn bags

-Muffin papers



-Paper cups

-Paper food containers

-Paper plates

-Paper towels


-Pizza and pizza boxes



-Shellfish (inc. shells)

-Tea bags & leaves


-Waxed corrugated cardboard (small quantities only)

-Waxed paper

-Ashes (in a combustible container)


-Blister plastic packaging

-Bubble wrap


-Candy bar wrappers

-Carpet (must fit inside a bag or can)

-CD/DVDs & cases


-Cereal / cracker box liner

-Chip bags

-Christmas tree lights

-Cigarette butts

-Clemintine boxes


-Cookie bags



-Dialysis tubing


-Diaper wipes


-Disposable mop sheets

-Dog/cat food bags

-Dryer sheets & lint

-Feminine hygiene products

-Florist foam

-Flower pots/trays

-Foil (pouches/packets)

-Food packaging (deli meat, hot dog, wrappers, etc.)

-Furnace filters

-Garden hose

-Kitty litter

-Latex gloves

-Light bulbs (incandescent)


-Pet waste


-Planting trays / pots

-Plastic cutlery

-Plastic wrap

-Pool noodles

-Rags & unusable clothing



-Sandwich bags



-Styrofoam packing peanuts

-Vacuum bags

-VHS tapes & cases


-Milk bags

-Paint can (plastic, empty)


-Remote controls

-Styrofoam (all types – plates, cups, insulation, packaging, etc.)

-Plastic bags (all types – grocery, bread, milk, etc.)

What are designated garbage bins?

What are designated garbage bins

Designated garbage bins are color-coded trash bins. The color will tell you exactly what type of trash goes into each one. 

The green bin is for organic trash. The blue bin is for recyclable metals. 

The black bin is for recyclable paper.  Only non-recyclables should be placed in garbage bags or cans.

How often is garbage collected in Ottawa?

How often is garbage collected in Ottawa

Generally, garbage is collected every two weeks in Ottawa. The green bins are collected weekly, and recyclables are collected on alternating weeks (blue bin one week, black bin the next).

Blue bins and garbage are picked up in the same week.

How many bags, items, or cans can be put out? 

How many bags, items, or cans can be put out

For Ottawans who are receiving the curbside collection, you can set out up to six items every second week on garbage collection day.

When and where do you put your garbage in Ottawa?

You should put your garbage at the curb any time after 6:00 PM the night before collection day at the earliest and no later than 7:00 AM on collection day itself. Make sure the bags or cans are placed close to the roadway. 

However, don’t put your garbage on the sidewalk, the roadway itself, or on top of the snow banks.

How to Package Your Garbage

Packaging your garbage isn’t as easy as it sounds because there are several important things you have to remember that can make the garbage collection process easier. 

Take a look at the rules to remember below:

  1. Never put your recyclables, organics, or yard waste in plastic bags.
  2. Don’t use shopping bags or small white garbage bags when you put your garbage at the curb.
  3. Don’t use cardboard boxes as trash bins. Because cardboard boxes are recyclable, they must be placed in a black bin.
  4. Always make sure your trash is secured inside a plastic garbage bag or a garbage can to avoid any debris.
  5. Don’t overfill your garbage cans, bags, or boxes. They should not weigh more than 15 kg (33 lbs).
  6. If you’re throwing away broken glass, make sure to separate it from your regular trash by placing it in a cardboard box and clearly labeling it ‘broken glass.’ This prevents any potential injuries to our collectors.
  7. For sawdust, ashes, and other material of similar nature, you can place them in the green bin. However, don’t place any hot ashes.
  8. You can add leaf and yard waste to your green bin. Don’t mix them with your recyclables and garbage.
  9. If you’re throwing away a carpet, make sure it’s tied and bundled securely. Bundles should be less than 1.2 m (4 ft.) in length, less than 60 cm (2 ft.) in diameter, and less than 15 kg (33 lb.) in weight.

Items That Can and Can’t Be Disposed

Not all items can be recycled, composted, or mixed with regular garbage for various reasons, such as hazardous waste or electronic waste. 

For curbside recycling, items that can be disposed of are paper & cardboard, plastic containers, metal, and glass. 

You can’t dispose of plastic grocery bags, food waste, styrofoam, medical items, containers with contaminants, and scrap metal.

You also can’t throw away ammunition; you must contact your local police station for these. Batteries and cell phones are considered hazardous and electronic waste, so you can’t dispose of them normally either.

Hazardous or special waste isn’t allowed for curbside collection. It must be brought to the Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre during its operating hours.

Acceptable Metal or Plastic Garbage Bag/Container

Acceptable Metal or Plastic Garbage BagContainer

Because you can’t just throw your trash in any old plastic grocery bag, your garbage bag/container must meet the following criteria:

  • Must have a maximum 140L capacity
  • Must have a maximum weight capacity of less than 15kg/33lbs if full
  • Must be a maximum of 90cm/35″ tall and 46cm/18″ in diameter
  • For containers, they must have two handles and a water-tight lid. The container shouldn’t have a fixed lid.

Additionally, you shouldn’t secure a garbage container’s lid using a bungee cord/rope or put loose garbage, especially glass or sharp objects, inside the container. For their own safety, waste collectors won’t reach into garbage cans to retrieve bags.

An example of an acceptable garbage container is a maximum 140L can with wheels and a removable lid. A maximum 140L garbage container without wheels but with a removable lid is also accepted.

Unacceptable Containers

Garbage containers that are around 220L / 50Gal. and 240 – 360L / 50 – 80Gal are considered unacceptable containers.

How to Dispose of Bulky Items

Bulky items that are only gently used, such as furniture, can be donated to keep them out of landfills and possibly help someone in need. Contact Ottawa’s Take It Back! program and they’ll use, recycle, or dispose of bulky items properly.

You can also donate bulky items to your local secondhand shops or charitable organizations; this way, the item will be out of your hands and benefit someone else. In this way, you’re also helping the environment too!