We think the strategy is generally moving in the right direction, but there are some changes we'd like to see, and overall, it’s too slow and not ambitious enough.
Here are some key points about the strategy based on key themes in our Zero Waste Toronto report:
Community! There are so many groups and communities doing amazing zero waste things right now in Toronto - from helping people redistribute clothing, food and goods to those in need, teaching repair skills and supporting community composters. With coordinated City support, these projects could be scaled up and expanded to reach more people. The strategy outlines 5 programs to increase reduction and reuse of materials, but most don't start for 3 or 4 years! Communities are ready now!
Incentives and Rules - Using a combination of rules, rewards and penalties will help everyone do their part to get to zero waste. Rules can target problem wastes (like litter, plastic bags and cigarette butts), or can help drive system changes - banning organics from disposal would force everyone to work harder to sort waste properly. The most exciting rule would be to require all buildings to have the same access to recycling and composting as we have at home.
Keep Learning - Zero Waste is a journey, not a one-time decision. We need the City to stay focused and keep looking at new ways to reduce waste. The City can create working groups made up of residents, businesses and other stakeholders to keep identifying new opportunities and ideas. In order to keep learning and keep improving, we need the City to share good data to show what parts of the strategy are working, and what aren't, and to identify the areas with the highest needs.
We'll continue to post our thoughts and comments on the City's draft Long Term Waste Strategy and our recommendations for making it a zero waste strategy.
- See our tip sheet on answering the City waste survey
- See TEA's report Zero Waste Toronto
- See TEA's updates on the Long Term Waste Plan on our website
- Sign up for special TEA updates on how you can Advocate for Zero Waste