The city on Wednesday unveiled its new weapon in the fight to make recycling easier for people who live in apartment buildings.

It's a reusable blue plastic bag.

Right now, only about 16 per cent of household items that can be recycled are being properly diverted in Ottawa.

City officials hope their new bag — which is being offered to residents for free, just like green bins — will encourage people in multi-unit buildings to gather their recyclables, toss them in the bag and take them to the designated recycling area in their building, if one exists.

Mayor Jim Watson said he's optimistic the new bags will redirect "literally hundreds and hundreds of tonnes" of waste from landfills.

'This bag will not transform a building'

Coun. David Chernushenko, chair of the city's environment committee, was slightly more guarded in his praise.

David Chernushenko Ottawa blue plastic bags Sept. 2 2015

Coun. David Chernushenko says the bags won't necessarily "transform buildings," but that they're a useful tool. (CBC News)

"I think we have to be clear and honest. Just having this bag will not transform a building. It is a tool and it gives us an opportunity to say, hey, if the obstacle right now to you was the bulk of the [recycling]

containers, storing them within your unit, the bulk and weight of carrying them down, we've made it a little bit easier with this bag," he said.

Neera Huckvale lives in a multi-unit building and keeps two of her own containers for recycling items. She said the bag won't do anything to help her, but that it might help others.

"I think the more convenient you can make it for people, the better," she said.

David Foubert, who also lives in an apartment building, said he's a fan of the bag.

"I would [use it] because I recycle a lot. I would probably use it twice a week to bring my stuff down, at least," he said.

Citizens who want the bags are encouraged to contact their property managers and building superintendents to receive the bags.

Property managers who want the bags for their tenants are asked to call Progressive Waste Solutions at 613-740-3281.

Poll question

On mobile? Vote here on whether you think the bags will make more people in apartment buildings recycle.


  • An earlier version of this story stated that residents who want the bags should contact the city to receive one. In fact, residents should contact their property managers or building superintendents to receive the bags.
    Sep 02, 2015 6:46 PM ET