On Tuesday, March 1st TEA’s Waste Campaigner, Emily Alfred, and Executive Director Franz Hartmann spoke to Toronto’s Public Works & Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) about the future of waste in Toronto.
Before they spoke, the Mayor of Ingersoll told Councillors that his community doesn’t want a new landfill to take Toronto’s garbage. He insisted that we should deal with our own garbage, and not just look for a new landfill.
Right afterwards, Emily spoke and made it clear to Councillors that Toronto already has the city services and community programs to cut our waste right now, so if we focus on the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), we won’t have to send our waste to a landfill or incinerator. Watch Emily’s deputation below:
Emily also urged Councillors to focus on zero waste as they reviewed a draft Long Term Waste Management Strategy to be brought to the public for consultation over the next few months. Emily noted that the draft plan has some good points, but it doesn’t go far enough. TEA agreed with the draft plan’s focus on reducing, reusing and recycling more of our waste as the first steps. However, the timeline for properly implementing the 3Rs is far too slow, and Torontonians can do much better when it comes to cutting our waste. Emily shared TEA’s new Zero Waste Toronto report with Councillors that explains why Toronto should focus on zero waste, and shares examples of Toronto businesses and community groups ready to get to zero, now.
Franz showed Councillors that we have collected over 3,500 letters from Toronto residents to their City Councillors asking them to make the 3Rs a priority. He explained that our current city programs can divert 85% of what we put out for collection. Making this happen as soon as possible will result in not having to find new disposal capacity. Watch Franz’s deputation.
Later, TEA member and green business owner John Cicou also spoke to the Committee, talking about how simple tools and the right information can help all Toronto residents and businesses divert more waste.
Councillors were receptive to TEA’s message - Councillor McMahon wanted to be sure TEA would hand out a copy of our Zero Waste Toronto report to all 44 City Councillors and the Mayor. Councillor Holyday suggested that we can all pledge to reduce waste, and that “TEA can be a great partner” to help educate residents. Chair of the Committee, Councillor Robinson said “we have to be a bit more ambitious” and “always try to aim higher” with our timeline and diversion goals for the City waste strategy.
The media was also very interested in TEA’s comments. Reporters interviewed Emily after her talk which has led to many stories about TEA’s Zero Waste report and our key message that Toronto has the city services and community programs to get us very close to zero waste.
Summary of Public Works meeting and Committee decision