The City of Ottawa is being urged to consider imposing a user pay system on garbage bags to keep trash out of the landfills.

A “pay as you throw” system is one of 20 recommendations from Waste Watch Ottawa to improve diversion rates in the capital.

A new report this morning says Ottawa has one of the worst rates of recycling and organics waste diversion in Ontario. It states that due to the poor performance of the recycling and green bin programs, “considerably more waste” is ending up in the Trail Road landfill.

Waste Watch Ottawa data shows Ottawa residents only diverted 42.5% of its waste in 2015, compared to the provincial average of 47.7%. The report says a waste composition study suggests only 50% of Ottawa residents use their green bins, and 25% of residents do not use the recycling program.

Waste Watch Ottawa concludes every increase of one per cent in the waste diversion in Ottawa would add an extra one year of life expectancy for the Trail Road Landfill. It adds increasing the diversion rate from 42.5% to 55% would extend the life expectancy for the Trail Road dump from 2045 to 2055.

The group makes 20 recommendations to improve Ottawa’s waste diversion performance through the green bin, blue and black box recycling, multi-residential buildings, garbage and education.

One suggestion is for the city to consider a “pay as you throw” user pay system. It would set a limit on the number of bags and bins collected each week, and charge homeowners a price for any container above the limit.  The report states Ottawa still has a “generous limit of six bags or containers of waste allowed for collection. This should be reduced.”

Waste Watch Ottawa also wants the city to “target waste diversion promotion specifically at multi-residential buildings.” It suggests the city to provide educational materials to each unit and large posters for recycling areas to encourage recycling in apartment buildings.