Each year at the annual Greener City Celebration, TEA presents the Greener City For All Award. This award celebrates the success and hard work of community organizations and individuals that are creating a greener and more equitable city.
Congratulations to Windmill Line Co-Op - the recipient of the 2022 Greener City for All Award!
TEA’s Waste Campaigner Emily Alfred presented the award to Sharon Trussler and Janine Simmons from Windmill Line Co-Op.
Read Emily’s speech below and watch a video showcasing Windmill Line Co-Op’s achievements.
I’m Emily, TEA’s waste campaigner, and I’m here to present the 2022 Greener City for All Award.
Each year, TEA presents this award to recognize and celebrate the individuals, groups and organizations who are doing amazing work to make our city more sustainable and equitable. The awardees are partners or collaborators that inspire us and who are demonstrating leadership and solutions to urgent issues.
This is the fifth year TEA has presented this award. The very first Greener City for All award was presented to a residential building in northern Scarborough called Mayfair on the Green for their innovation and leadership in demonstrating how high-rise buildings can achieve almost zero waste. With over 1000 residents, this building is generating only one dumpster of garbage per month! The Mayfair on the Green community got us to think about what’s possible and motivated many people to take action in high-rise buildings across the city.
That’s why TEA launched the Zero Waste High-Rise Project in 2017, in partnership with researchers at the University of Toronto. The project identified and shared approaches to reducing waste in condos, co-ops and apartments. We recruited and worked with teams of residents and staff in buildings across the city - we helped evaluate their current situation, develop a zero waste plan, and supported them to implement it.
In our project, I had the pleasure of working with so many enthusiastic resident and staff leaders in buildings across the city – you can see three of those leading buildings in that video, but there were so many more.
One of the buildings in that video is the Windmill Line Co-op, this year’s Greener City For All Award recipient.
Now, we’ll share a video TEA produced last year that highlights the incredible actions of 3 buildings - including Windmill Line Co-Op.
WATCH THE VIDEO
Since this video was produced in the fall of 2021, the Windmill Line Co-Op has pushed ahead and achieved even more. Inspired by what they saw at Mayfair on the Green, they took the bold step of transforming the core waste infrastructure in the building: they converted their garbage chute to an organics chute. This simple step can have a huge impact - not only because it’s now easiest to deal with the organics (the largest category of household waste) but it also demonstrates a clear commitment by every resident and staff in that building to shift how they do things, to make reducing waste the priority.
Windmill Line resident leaders saw a novel solution and weren’t daunted or tentative about what they could do. Instead, they jumped right in and started asking “What can we do here?” In just over two years, they’ve made huge changes to how waste is managed in the building. They started a green team, researched all the options, developed new staff procedures and consulted with the whole co-op community to ensure everyone was on board and took steps to address accessibility in their waste reduction efforts. And they did all of that during the pandemic.
Not only have they taken those steps, but they've also been very generous in sharing their stories - with other project buildings, with other co-ops across Canada, and with the wider public. This summer, they hosted a tour with us for a green jobs training program.
The other thing I want to say about the Windmill Line team is that it truly was a collaboration between staff and residents, more than any other team we worked with. We saw Camille Hines in that video - she was the resident leader that really pushed to get this initiative going. You also saw Juan, the building manager. Other building and maintenance staff shared this excitement to help develop ideas, work through any problems and help get everyone on board. That cooperation helped them move so quickly.
This year’s award is about communities and building leadership. Windmill Line learned from other leaders and then became leaders themselves, helping to spark action in even more multi-residential communities.
I’m endlessly inspired by the persistence of these residents and staff, that have become leaders themselves - please join me in welcoming Sharon Trussler and Janine Simmons to accept the award on behalf of their building community.