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Report: Leaping to 80%

Leaping to 80: A Plan for City Hall to Help Torontonians Divert More Waste

November 2012  

Executive Summary

In 2000, City Council set a residential waste diversion target of 100% by 2010. In 2007, the target was revised to 70% by 2010. As we approach 2013, the city is stalled at a disappointing 50%.

The good news is that Torontonians love diverting waste. When given the right tools — like green bins and blue bins — they actively participate in sorting products and doing their part to make sure as little waste as possible goes to landfill.

The bad news is that not everyone has the tools to divert waste from landfill. Roughly half of Toronto residents live in multi-residential buildings, and very few of them have access to blue bins and green bins at home.

The news is even worse outside the home: few schools and shopping malls have blue bin and green bin services. At the workplace (including offices, manufacturing, and construction) most waste ends up going straight to landfill. That’s why the provincial waste diversion rate for the industrial, commercial and institutional sector (IC&I) is a shameful 13%.

This report explains why waste diversion is the best environmental, economic, and financial approach to dealing with our garbage. It notes that waste diversion creates 7 jobs for every 1,000 tonnes of waste diverted in Ontario, versus 1 job for the same amount of waste disposed (in landfill or incinerator). It shows how waste diversion avoids the significant environmental and financial problems associated with landfills and incinerators. The report also provides an overview of how Toronto’s residential waste diversion system works and is funded. 

Most importantly, the report identifies key actions the City can take to help Torontonians divert more waste:

  • · Get Green Bins into all multi-residential buildings by the end of 2013.
  • · Build the facilities needed to divert Toronto's waste.
  • · Target commercial and non-residential waste diversion.
  • · Support diversion with strong policy at the City and Provincial level.

Combined, these actions will improve Toronto’s residential waste diversion rate beyond 70%, to over 80%. With new tools to help Torontonians divert waste outside the home at businesses, work and school, Toronto’s diversion of waste from landfill will be even better. These actions will also create an additional 1,800 green jobs, mostly in Toronto.

Financially, these actions will require new investments in waste diversion programs, education, and infrastructure. Annualized, new capital costs will be in the range of $15 million per year. New operating costs will be around $6.8 million per year. However, the environmental benefit, green jobs benefit, and long-term cost savings on disposal offset these costs. In addition, as provincial waste policy progresses, money will be saved by reducing the public subsidy to companies whose products end up in the municipal waste, by having them pay their way.

In short, this report explains why and how City Hall should help Torontonians continue their love affair with waste diversion.


Download the full report here:

Leaping to 80: A Plan for City Hall to Help Torontonians Divert More Waste

TEA Report - Leaping to 80.pdf316.21 KB