OTTAWA -- Ottawa is on the verge of a garbage crisis, and the solution might be a few clicks away for residents. A City of Ottawa online survey is asking how you want your garbage picked up, to help reduce waste.

However, you only have a few days left to vote on how you want the city to handle curbside garbage.

“There are times where I only have one little bag of garbage and there are times where you are cleaning up and you have lots of bags,” says Ottawa resident Antonietta Martines.

Martines used to use her green bin, but not anymore. The messy food waste just became too much effort, she says, so she started using a composter in her backyard instead.

“I don’t use it because I hate the mess,” says Martines. “I don’t use it but I have found my own personal solution. All my peels, corn, everything goes in my composter. It’s a great idea.”

Martines is doing her part, but some Ottawa residents are not, which is why the City of Ottawa is embarking on massive changes to waste collection.

The city has launched a survey with three options to help reduce waste.

  • Partial pay-as-you throw: Households would be allowed to place a set number of garbage items out for collection. Households with more than this limit would purchase garbage tags for each additional item.
  • Reduced item limits: Households would set out a reduced number of garbage items for collection. Anything above the limit would not be collected.
  • Clear garbage bags with recycling and organics bans: Households would set out their garbage in clear bags. Recyclables and organic waste would not be permitted in the garbage.

All of the city’s residential garbage ends up at the Trail Waste Facility. The City says, if nothing is done to reduce curbside garbage, the landfill will reach capacity in 15 years.

“The hope is that through diversion and new technologies, we extend the life of the landfill and that we continue using the landfill that we have,” says Environment Committee Chair Coun. Scott Moffatt. “You can’t just ban organic and hope that everyone’s doing it. So that's where the clear plastic bags come in. So, you have clear plastic bags, coupled with a ban in organics, and that’s how you’re going to reduce the waste in that regard.”

Martines says she doesn’t like the idea of clear plastic bags on the side of the road.

“It’s not going to work, I know that. People are going to find another way of discarding their garbage,” says Martines. “The garbage should be picked up at least once a week. And I’m talking about this for the whole neighbourhood and I’m sure it’s the whole city of Ottawa as well.”

“We are collecting your garbage every week. It’s called a green bin,” says Moffatt. “Most of your waste that you produce is organic and it can go in the green bin and we’ll pick it up every single weekend at the end of your laneway.”

Survey results will be used to help select the best possible choice for curbside pickup, which could be one, or a combination of the three options. So far, there have been 17,000 responses.

Deadline to submit your choice to reduce waste is Sept. 12.