Ottawa considering restrictions on bulky items, new fees to extend the life of the Trail Road dump

OTTAWA — The city of Ottawa is considering new restrictions on mattresses, furniture and other bulky items going to the Trail Road Landfill in a bid to extend the life of the dump in Ottawa’s south end.

A new report proposes restrictions on bulky items, increasing fees for throwing out waste, diverting waste to private facilities and exploring new technologies to deal with waste.

City staff said in June that the landfill on Trail Road had 30 per cent remaining capacity at the end of 2019, and could run out of space in the next 15 years.

With the cost of establishing a new landfill ranging from $100 million to $200 million, the city is looking at measures to extend the life of the landfill. The standing committee on environmental protection, water and waste management will debate the measures on Tuesday.

Staff say the Residual Waste Management Strategy will optimize the remaining space at the dump and reduce the waste going to the Trail Road Landfill in the short to medium-term.

The report outlines six specific opportunities to divert waste in the next one to three years:

  1. Limiting types of waste received at the Trail Road dump, specifically bulky and non-residential waste
  2. Reviewing tipping fees, specifically exploring a tipping fee strategy that would create an incentive to reduce the waste disposal of difficult to manage items
  3. Redirecting residential waste to private disposal facilities
  4. Make operational improvements to increase the quantity of waste that can be deposited in the landfill
  5. Increase awareness of the value of the Trail Waste Facility through public education and outreach
  6. Designing the framework for a future residual waste management technologies pilot program

When it comes to limiting types of waste at the dump, the city will look at two types of waste – “quick-win” bulky waste alternatives where markets for diversion exist and limiting non-residential waste at the landfill.  Staff note bulky waste (i.e. furniture, and mattresses) does not compact well within the landfill and takes up more space.

For tipping fees, the city will look at increasing fees to dump certain materials and non-residential waste. 

If approved, staff will evaluate each option and report back to council starting next year.

The city owned and operated Trail Waste Facility Landfill opened in May 1980 and was initially expected to receive waste for 20 years. The city extended its lifespan through the expansion of airspace, development of new waste cells and improvements in the diversion policy.

The city of Ottawa is developing the Solid Waste Master Plan with long-term strategies for dealing with Ottawa’s waste over 30 years. Options on the table include a set limit for garbage bags and a pay-as-you-throw system.

“Both short and long-term options need to be considered to preserve and extend its life,” says staff about the Trail Waste Facility Landfill.

“There are viable short and medium-term options for increasing capacity and extending its life, including specific material bans, tipping fee adjustments and sourcing additional private landfill capacity.”

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