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Toronto's waste diversion - missing Target 70


The City of Toronto set a target of diverting (reducing, reusing, recycling or composting) 70% of our waste from disposal by 2010. That target was missed and today, in 2014, we're stuck at just over 50% waste diversion.


In spring and summer 2013, Solid Waste Management Services reported to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on why Toronto missed Target 70, and what should happen next.

Two key issues were discussed - Green Bins in apartment buildings, and the role of Public Education in increasing waste diversion. TEA spoke to the Committee at these meetings and urged Councillors to promote waste diversion first.

In addition, these meetings outlined the beginning of the City's Long Term Waste Management Strategy process - read more here.


Green Bins in Apartment Buildings 

Solid Waste Management Reports: SWMS committed to getting green bins into apartment buildings by the end of 2014.

TEA Response: This is a great goal, as residents of apartment
buildings (half of Toronto households) have been waiting for years to
get green bins at home. The report in March 2013, and the follow up report in June 2013 didn't provide enough detail to determine how effective the City's approach is. Councillors asked for better details, including before-and-after waste diversion rates from
apartment buildings that are starting green bin service.



Public Education and Support for Diversion 

Solid Waste Management Services outlined a plan to provide education and information for apartments and condos that are starting Green Bin collection, and a recycling education program. 

TEA’s Response: While too many household recyclables and organics
end up in the waste stream, its clear that simple education is the most
effective and least expensive tool to increase diversion. Education and
support for all residents and waste customers must be a priority. This
includes not only communications materials on the city website, but
hands-on support and outreach to schools, apartment buildings,
non-profits and others that are not diverting as much as they could.

Finally, TEA pointed out that while staff have been doing a great job
creating strong education materials for the public on recycling and
composting, more resources are needed. TEA called for more staffing, a
bigger budget, and a review of the best techniques to increase diversion
across Toronto.

Councillors agreed and asked staff to report back on the impact of the
education and green bin roll-out techniques, to partner with other
organizations and the TCHC to increase diversion, and to develop a
ward-by-ward strategy that councillors can help with to get diversion
levels up


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