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Mar 12th, 2024

Green Corner: Russell Manor community comes together to keep waste out of Ottawa’s landfill 

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Residents at Russell Manor lead by example and do their part to keep recyclables and organics (uneaten food, pet waste, and other things that can be composted) out of our landfills.  

Russell Manor is one of 24 communities where staff and partners have worked with residents to increase the use of compost bins and recycling. One important partner is EnviroCentre, an organization that helps deliver environmentally-based solutions to make neighbourhoods cleaner and greener. 

Why does it matter?  

Working on improvements to community waste areas has these benefits:  

  • keeps communities cleaner,   
  • helps keep pests away and  
  • When funds are not used to clean up litter, they can be used for community improvements that benefit residents.   

During 2021-2022, EnviroCentre partnered with OCH on a pilot project to increase recycling rates and introduce organic collection at three high-rise buildings in Ottawa. 

The buildings’ garbage chutes were closed, and their waste rooms were upgraded into clean, convenient indoor spaces where all waste could be easily sorted.   

These newly renovated waste rooms were accessible to all residents, including those using mobility devices. EnviroCentre staff consulted with building managers, waste collection companies, the city, and the community throughout the transition. 

By the numbers 

After the pilot project, paper and cardboard collections increased by 140 percent, and glass, metal, and plastic collections increased by an average of 196 percent!   

Since those initial pilots, OCH has completed work in 24 communities that aim to reduce waste and encourage the use of green bins. 

What helps to make it work? 

The tenants! While all three pilot projects launched in 2021-2022 were successful, residents at Russell Manor have gone above and beyond. They have come together as a community to try to keep waste out of landfills, making excellent use of their recycling and organics bins.   

During a community meeting with EnviroCentre on January 23rd, residents shared their thoughts about what has contributed to their building’s success: 

  • Most importantly, residents help each other. If someone sees a bag of waste in a hallway, they take it down to the waste room, understanding that the person who placed it there may have been unable to bring it down themselves.   
  • Residents teach each other the proper place to sort their waste; if they notice someone not putting something in the right spot, they help them find the right place. 
  • Some residents volunteer their time to help remove contaminated items that they see in the recycling bins and put them in the proper place. They make sure that full waste bins are placed outside for collection, keeping the waste room spic and span!