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3 Item Garbage Limit

Jun 12, 2024 | News Updates

On Monday, September 30, the City of Ottawa will introduce a limit of three items of garbage to be picked up at the curb on collection day.  A garbage item could be a garbage bag, a garbage container up to 140 litres or a bulky item such as an unusable or broken piece of furniture. Households can put several smaller bags in one garbage container to count as one item.There is no limit to how much residents can set out through curbside recycling, green bins and leaf and yard waste bags.  This change only applies to residents who receive curbside garbage collection. Not sure if this applies to you? Visit Ottawa.ca/garbage and search your address to find out.

Why a three-item garbage limit?  

  • The three-item garbage limit helps the City extend the life of the Trail Waste Facility Landfill. This gives us time to explore new options for waste disposal.

  • This limit also puts us in line with what neighbouring municipalities have for garbage collection.

  • More than half of what we put in the garbage should go in the blue, black or green bin.

  • Around 85 per cent of households already set out three garbage items or fewer on collection day. Even so, we can all do better when it comes to recycling and using a green bin.

  • The new limit will encourage curbside residents to rethink how they dispose of household waste – whether it be through properly sorted recycling, neighbourhood “buy-nothing” groups, donations, or return to retailer.

Tips and tools for adapting to the new three-item garbage limit

  • Not sure which bin something goes in? It can be hard to keep track. The Waste Explorer makes it easy. Search any item and it will tell you how to properly dispose of it.

  • Download the Ottawa Collection Calendar app today for collection reminders, waste reduction tips and more.

  • Visit Ottawa.ca/garbage for more insight into how you can reduce the amount of garbage you send to landfill.

  • Are you new to Ottawa or find yourself needing a new blue, green or black bin? You can request one here. The City provides one of each for free and will deliver it to your home.

  • Recycling and composting are easy things you can do to help the environment.

  • Any useable items you no longer want can also find a new home in your local “buy-nothing” groups or be donated to local charities.


  • We know it can take time to adjust to change. The new garbage limit is not meant to punish people.

  • The City will focus on educating residents first. For the small number of residents who consistently exceed the garbage limit, a waste inspector may visit to make sure the household is aware of the new limit and to offer them educational materials.

  • Ticketing may result if the limit continues to be exceeded even after repeated efforts to address the issue with education.

Illegal dumping

  • Illegal dumping hurts the environment, parks, local businesses, and your neighbours. If you spot illegal dumping, report it by calling 3-1-1.

Yellow bags for residents

  • Residents who need to go above the three-item garbage limit can purchase yellow bags from participating Home Hardware stores, Building Materials & Renovations (BMR) and select City facilities.

  • Yellow bags for residents will be available for purchase later this year in advance of the three-item garbage limit.

  • Yellow bags will be sold in packages of four at a cost of $17.60.

  • The City is exploring options to expand where yellow bags can be purchased. More information will be available later this year.

  • There is no limit to the number of yellow bags that can be set out for collection.

Common pads

  • City staff will be working directly with property managers that use common pads for waste set outs to offer support and communicate with residents where needed.

Special Consideration Program

  • On Monday, September 30 the Special Consideration program will be expanded to include home healthcare waste on September 30.

  • Residents with unavoidable home healthcare waste such as casts, catheters, and soiled dressings may have one bag or container of garbage to manage their waste on the weeks without their scheduled garbage collection.

  • Currently, registered households can place one bag of diapers and incontinence products out for collection on the alternating week from their scheduled garbage collection.

Agriculture Exemption

  • Agricultural properties with residential households that receive curbside waste collection services from the City are seasonally exempt from the three-item garbage limit from April 1 to May 31 to set out unlimited unavoidable farm waste.

  • Additional waste will only be collected if agricultural properties participate in waste diversion programs such as blue, black, or green bin.