Take it Back! Locally!

Last modified: March 22, 2019

Ottawa, Canada's, Revolutionary Local Program for household and special waste products

Program Overview
[Description below from Target Zero Canada Web site]

The City of Ottawa has a population of 710,000, representing 210,000 households and 81,000 apartment units. Like many communities, it diverts waste with two-stream recycling (blue box for glass, metal, and plastic containers and a black box for paper and cardboard), as well as leaf and yard composting.

However, its "Take it Back!" program, now in its fourth year, is a unique, award-winning initiative that encourages residents to return waste products to local participating retailers. In 2000-2001, the Take it Back! program includes more than 60 household products and hazardous materials such as automotive and electronics products, medication and used needles that should not be deposited in garbage or recycling boxes.

Thanks to the participation of more than 300 retailers who sign a one-year contract, Ottawa residents can return a range of waste products to retail vendors for reuse, recycling, or proper disposal. This public-private partnership provides cost effective services to residents, offers convenient disposal options they might not otherwise have, and gives exclusive competitive advantages to the retailers such as increasing consumer traffic to their stores.

Take It Back! is a noteworthy example of a win-win solution through Producer Responsibility and community participation. And by reducing the pressure on municipal waste collection and disposal programs, financial resources can be made available for other concerns.

A Take it Back! directory is also distributed to Ottawa households, libraries, community centers, and retailers to ensure information about the program is widely spread and easily understood.

Ottawa's Take it Back! Web Page

Detailed Program History & Description by Trish Johnson

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