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.


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 in a park — April 19 to 22, 2024

Each April, Waterloo residents work together in the spirit of Earth Day to remove litter from city parks and trails in Waterloo. Get involved! Attend or organize your own community cleanup and help protect local streams, wildlife and our drinking water.

The annual city-wide spring cleanup will happen throughout parks in Waterloo between April 19 and 22, 2024. 

Ways to get involved:
  • Join in on the Friends of Waterloo Park community cleanup in Waterloo Park on April 20.
  • Check with your Neighbourhood Association and the community calendar to see if a cleanup is already happening in a park near you.
  • Gather your friends, family, coworkers and neighbours to organize your own Earth Day Community Cleanup of your favourite park.
Follow these steps to register your own Earth Day Community Cleanup:
  1. Select a date, time, city park or trail that runs through a city-owned park using our parks directory page.
  2. Register your own community cleanup between March 1 to April 12. Registering helps avoid duplicate cleanups at the same location and lets us plan for litter collection.
  3. Review the safety tips and guidelines.
  4. Once you've registered, we will email you instructions on where to pick up the provided cleanup supplies and information on how to carry out a safe and successful cleanup.

Register your community cleanup event


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