Apr 22nd, 2022
News Release: OCHC Among the First in the City to Pilot Organics Diversion in High-Rise Communities
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(OTTAWA, ON) April 22, 2022 – A waste diversion pilot, aimed at introducing composting and encouraging recycling at 215 Nepean St. has yielded amazing initial results.
In the first two months of the pilot, reports from the City of Ottawa show the changes have reduced the building’s garbage output by 40 percent. Recycling of glass, metal and plastic materials increased by four times and fibre recycling increased by three times.
OCHC invested in retrofits to the garbage area and worked with partner EnviroCentre to engage with tenants prior to the community’s infrastructure changes. They worked with tenants over a period of several months, by going door to door and providing tenants with “kitchen catchers” to place their organic waste, as well as recycling bags. They conducted surveys to determine any barriers to composting and provided information to tenants by doing an onsite information booth.
Once the engagement was complete, the Property Manager and maintenance team worked on retrofitting the community garbage room to make the space more inviting and reorganized it with clear sections to indicate each recycling area as well as garbage and compost. In concert, with the changes, staff reached out to the City to work out more frequent pickup of organic waste as well as continue to engage with tenants and monitor the garbage room to ensure materials were being properly sorted.
The high rise on Nepean Street is the first building where waste diversion upgrades and tenant engagement strategies have been implemented. More buildings will receive retrofits to their community waste areas to facilitate organics diversion and recycling.
The EnviroCentre and OCHC’s Community Development staff are currently in the tenant engagement phase of the program rollout in one of our seniors’ communities. Other communities will be rolled out in the coming years.
“I am encouraged by the waste diversion results in the 215 Nepean St. Community and proud of the work of our staff, tenants and partners at EnviroCentre have done to impact and reduce our global emissions. It is an important step in the process of becoming greener as a corporation. This is just one of the many commitments we have made as part of our Eco2Plan.”
Stéphane Giguère, Chief Executive Officer, OCHC
“As the City’s largest landlord, it is crucial that Ottawa Community Housing aligns with the City’s Solid Waste Master Plan. The pilot at 215 Nepean is part of an overall strategy to divert waste across the portfolio. As part of the rollout, staff engaged tenants to help address questions and concerns about using the green bin – and created an inviting space for tenants to be able to sort their waste. This type of change starts at home, and it’s encouraging to see OCHC take the lead in setting up the infrastructure for organic diversion in high-rises. It’s a process that can be replicated in all communities, ultimately keeping waste out of landfills.”
Mathieu Fleury, Rideau-Vanier Councillor and OCHC Board Chair
Before formalizing a process for high-rise communities, OCHC invested in tenant engagement to encourage waste diversion in more than a dozen townhome communities.
In the last 10 years, OCHC has reduced its carbon emissions from 36,000 tonnes to 29,000 tonnes (the equivalent of taking 1,512 vehicles off the road).
OCHC has built the largest affordable housing building certified Passive House in Canada at 811 Gladstone
The Corporation’s 37 solar arrays and three solar walls produce 400,000 kWh each year – enough power to charge 9 million smartphones.
There are 116 residents in the 215 Nepean St. Community.
Ottawa Community Housing Corporation (OCHC) provides approximately 15,000 homes to about 32,000 tenants, including seniors, parents, children, couples, singles and persons with special needs, within many communities across the City of Ottawa. OCHC houses a diverse population of varying languages, ethnicity and cultures. OCHC is the largest social housing provider in Ottawa, managing two-thirds of the City’s social housing portfolio, and is the second-largest in Ontario. OCHC was selected as one of the National Capital Region’s Top Employers in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.