Councillor hosts drop-off event to help downtown residents dispose of hazardous waste
Coun. Shawn Menard says he's received complaints from residents who can't get to distant drop-off locations
As the City of Ottawa holds a one-day hazardous waste depot in Orléans on Sunday, one downtown councillor is taking hold of the wheel to ensure it's accessible to people who live far away.
Capital ward Coun. Shawn Menard rented a truck and encouraged people to drop off their hazardous household waste outside City Hall on Sunday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. He planned to deliver the waste to the city-run Innes Snow Dump facility on Mer Bleu Road.
Menard said the initiative is meant to address numerous complaints from people living in the city centre who say they struggle to dispose of their hazardous waste at distant drop-off points.
"For people who either don't own a car or do have a car but don't want to travel far with hazardous waste in their vehicle, it's a great option," said Menard.
"People don't really want to be taking the bus with cans of gasoline."
Menard said he would accept a range of items, including aerosol containers, propane cylinders, pesticide bottles, fire extinguishers and gasoline canisters. Somerset ward Coun. Catherine McKenney will also attend to lend a helping hand.
"We just want to show that this can be done. I'm paying out of my own pocket to rent the truck, and people are volunteering to do this on a Sunday," said Menard.
"This is the sort of thing that should be done on a regular basis when there are one-day household hazardous waste pickups in areas that are not accessible for the entire city."
The city holds multiple hazardous waste depots each year where residents can drop off their waste. But it has been two years since the city had a drop-off location in either the downtown core or the greenbelt, leaving around half of Ottawans under-served, Menard said.
Potential proof of concept
Greg Danylchenko, who lives in Ottawa's downtown, was dropping items off at Menard's truck Sunday morning. He said the lack of a downtown location is inconvenient, and he was glad to see the councillor's initiative.
"Now I have to accumulate a whole bunch to make it worthwhile," he said. "That takes up space and this is toxic waste after all. Who wants to make your house into a toxic dump?"
Menard said he would like to see future satellite drop-off sites in the central core and west end suburbs.
He said he will submit a report to city staff after Sunday's experiment to start a formal process that would address the problem long term.
"We'll bring motions to make sure this sort of service continues in the future," said Menard.
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The City of Ottawa will continue to hold regular hazardous waste drop-off events while adhering to COVID-19 safety precautions, according to Shelley McDonald, director of the city's solid waste service.
The city doesn't currently provide pickup options for hazardous waste, and McDonald did not say whether it would consider that option in the future.
McDonald urged people to consult the online waste explorer tool that provides alternative locations to return items like paint cans and pharmaceuticals to local retailers.
However, Menard said alternatives don't exist for some larger items like cleaning supplies. That's what Sunday's drop-off aims to address.
"I expect we'll probably have a full truck," he said.
The city has four remaining dates for one-day hazardous waste depots this year:
- Sunday, August 8 at the Innes Snow Dump.
- Sunday, September 12 at Tunney's Pasture.
- Sunday, September 26 at the Trail Road Waste Facility.
- Sunday, October 24 at Westbrock Snow Dump.