Environment

Get involved with community programs and events that focus on improving the environment. Learn what the city is doing to reduce its environmental impact.

Help us keep our city trees as we grow. We're working on a plan to sustain and enhance our tree canopy until 2050. Share your ideas for our urban forest strategy


On this page

  1. Community programs in parks
  2. Celebrate Earth Day
  3. Sustainable advisory committee
  4. Corporate conservation initiatives

Community programs in parks

Get involved in community programs in parks, such as:

  • community vegetable gardens
  • Bee City – help support native pollinators and habitat
  • Partners in Parks stewardship activities, including:
    • litter cleanup
    • mulching trails
    • community plantings

Find more information on the community programs in parks page. 


Celebrate Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day (April 22) every day and help improve our environment. Find some ideas on how you can get involved in your community below.

Earth Hour — March 23, 2024

The city joins other local organizations and millions worldwide by participating in Earth Hour — a worldwide movement that encourages individuals, communities and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights for one hour as a symbol of commitment to the planet.

Visit the Earth Hour website for details on the next event and how to participate.

Earth Day Community Cleanup
Thank you!

During our annual spring cleanup from April 19 to 22, 2024, nearly 1,000 people from neighbourhood and community groups, corporate teams, families and friends worked together in the spirit of Earth Day to clean up parks and trails in Waterloo.

Volunteers removed nearly 300 bags of litter and many large items!

We're proud of what our community can achieve when we work as a team. Thank you for making Waterloo a more beautiful place to live:

  • 1st Waterloo Scouts
  • 16th Waterloo Guides
  • AFKW
  • Adventure4Change
  • AgfaHealthCare
  • Aquanty Inc.
  • Artic Wolf
  • Beechwood Park Homes Association
  • Canon Medical Informatics (Canon Sweepers)
  • City Utilities Compliance and Programs Team
  • Clair Hills Community Association
  • Columbia Forest Community
  • Connect Youth Group
  • Le Prix
  • Eastbridge – North Waterloo
  • Friends of Hillside Park
  • Friends of Waterloo Park
  • GHD
  • Heasley Park Community
  • Lakeshore North Neighbourhood Association
  • Le Prix
  • Mary Allen Neighbourhood Association
  • NAVBLUE Cares
  • OpenText
  • Perimeter Institute
  • Scotiabank – Waterloo branches
  • Seagram Lofts residents
  • St. Matthew’s Catholic Elementary School
  • Teledyne Dalsa
  • University Downs neighbours
  • Uptown Waterloo Business Improvement Area (BIA)
  • Vista Hills Community Association
  • Waterpark Place Condos
  • Westvale Community Association

Sustainability advisory committee

The sustainability advisory committee advises council on implementing and promoting the city's sustainability program and strategy. View more information about the committee


Corporate conservation initiatives

We're involved in a partnership called ClimateActionWR to develop a community-scale action plan to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent. Other partners include REEP Green Solutions, Sustainable Waterloo Region, the Region of Waterloo, the cities of Kitchener and Cambridge and the local electric utilities.

For home and business energy conservation programs, visit Enova's website.

Energy consumption and emission reports

Under Ontario's Green Energy Act, we are required to report the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions resulting from city operations. Not all city activities are listed in this template, only those that impact consumption and emissions. The report for 2020 will be posted in July 2021.

Completed reports (PDFs) include: 

City facilities

Under our green building policy, all new or renovated city facilities larger than 5,400 square feet must be at least LEED Silver Certified. The LEED building rating system measures a building's environmental performance.

Wherever possible, we also retrofit our buildings to improve efficiency. In 2013, council approved over $4M in improvements to Albert McCormick Community Centre, Waterloo City Centre (city hall), RIM Park Manulife Sportsplex and the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.

Other notable building projects include the green roof at Waterloo City Centre and the GreenLab at RIM Park Manulife Sportsplex. The GreenLab also uses a water recycling system that harvests rain from artificial turf fields for use on natural grass. It includes a pavilion that aims to educate the public on environmental best practices.

City vehicle fleet

We operate more than 250 vehicles and pieces of equipment that help us deliver city services.

To reduce our impact on the environment we're moving toward a fleet that consumes less fuel, water, electricity and oil. Projects in this area include:

  • using diesel engine technology that conforms with the Environmental Protection Agency regulations requiring reduced sulphur content
  • providing financial contribution to the University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team
  • installing of EMDEC computer software to reduce fuel usage by tracking consumption trends 
  • purchasing electric and hybrid vehicles