The City of Ottawa has partnered with the Circular Innovation Council on a first-of-its-kind reuse pilot program which aims to address single use plastic waste in partnership with major Canadian grocery retailers Metro, Sobeys, and Walmart Canada, and the Government of Canada.
This opportunity arose through the City’s relationship and collaboration with the Circular Innovation Council, who sits on the Solid Waste Master Plan stakeholder sounding board and where we are a member of the Council. Circular Innovation Council has a strong understanding of the waste reduction goals we are trying to achieve in Ottawa, and we see this as a great opportunity to work together.
Co-funded by participating grocery retailers with support from Environment and Climate Change Canada, this will be the largest collaborative reuse initiative in the country. Starting with a unique reusable food container pilot launching in Ottawa this Spring, this national program is aiming to demonstrate scalable, convenient, and permanent solutions to reducing single use plastic packaging through collaborative reuse models.
As part of the Ottawa pilot program, consumers will have the opportunity to purchase selected food products in reusable containers at participating grocery retailers and other food service locations within the pilot area; the containers will be provided at no cost. Consumers will be able to return the reusable containers through a variety of convenient return options including neighbourhood drop-off locations. Technology service partner Reusables.com will provide the smart return bins and will be able to track container movements through washing and distribution.
In this unique model, the ownership of the reusable containers will be shared between the grocery retailers and other food service pilot participants in the pilot area. They will work collaboratively, sharing containers, ensuring proper sanitation and food safety requirements are met, and organizing transportation and logistics. This collective shared pool resource model will be a first in Canada for reusable containers at this scale. Learnings from the Ottawa pilot will be used to deliver and scale a variety of reuse programs across Ottawa and in other regions across Canada.
There are no anticipated costs for the City to participate in the pilot. For frequently asked questions please visit here.