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Toronto won't meet waste diversion target

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The City of Toronto won't meet its target of diverting 70 per cent of household waste from landfills by next year.

The campaign to recycle or compost 70 per cent of Toronto's waste by 2010 was touted as a way to save 4.5 million trees a year and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 25 per cent.

But that target won't be met until the end of 2012 at the earliest, said the city's waste manager, Geoff Rathbone.

"We do not expect we will hit 70 per cent overall diversion by the end of 2010," he told CBC News. "The 70 target is still something we are striving towards. We still think it's ultimately an achievable goal."

In 2008, Toronto residents diverted 44 per cent of their trash from going to landfill, according to the city. The city had projected a diversion rate of about 46 per cent for this year. But that figure did not take into account this summer's civic strike, so that number will likely be lower, Rathbone said.

The city still needs to build a mixed waste-treatment plant and get apartment buildings to recycle more before the 70 per cent diversion target can be met, Rathbone said.

The plant, which accounts for approximately eight percentage points of new diversion, will not be up and running for at least another two years, he said.

The Toronto Environmental Alliance isn't surprised Toronto won't meet its target, but had no criticism for the city, acknowledging it was an ambitious target to meet.

"It is a very steep target to meet ... a lot of other cities, and even in the province, their targets are a lot lower," said spokeswoman Heather Marshall.

As posted: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2009/10/06/toronto-waste-diversion624.html

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