• The Zero Waste High-Rise Project
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The Zero Waste High-Rise Project: Reducing waste and greening multi-residential buildings

High-rise buildings have many waste challenges - but by working with multi-residential communities and researchers, we’ve been finding solutions that can be scaled up to buildings across the city. 

Imagine: Organics and special waste collection in every high-rise building. Sharing shelves for residents to exchange reusable goods like books or cookware. Clear signs and information about how to sort waste. Bins to organize batteries, electronics, paint cans and light bulbs for safe and convenient disposal. Accessible and clean waste rooms. Friendly and creative reminders for residents. 

These are the kinds of solutions multi-residential communities are putting into action to reduce waste, build community and create cleaner and greener buildings. 

Since the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA)’s Zero Waste High-Rise Project was launched in 2018, dozens of multi-residential building communities across Toronto have taken action to identify their building’s challenges and create their custom action plan. These buildings are showing what’s possible for other high-rise buildings. Now, we’re sharing the results and working to scale up these solutions to multi-residential buildings across Toronto. 


Learn more about the zero waste high-rise project and hear from staff and residents from four leading buildings. 

The challenge and opportunities for multi-residential buildings 

More than half of all Toronto households live in multi-residential buildings. High-rise buildings often face structural challenges to reducing waste. For example, in many buildings, recycling and composting is often less convenient than garbage disposal. However, high-rise buildings also have unique assets that create opportunities for community-based approaches to reducing waste. These assets include the expertise of staff, the initiative of resident teams, and the room to organize in shared spaces. By looking at these assets to address barriers, and by collecting information about best practices on reducing waste, we're helping more buildings become leaders in zero waste.

The Zero Waste High-Rise Project

The Zero Waste High-Rise Project was launched in 2018. The Toronto Environmental Alliance partnered with researchers at the University of Toronto to work with teams from buildings across the city. Our research and project results are being shared with high-rise stakeholders and decision-makers to help more buildings reduce waste.

How we worked with multi-residential buildings: 

  • Identify the building’s unique barriers and opportunities. 
  • Provide resources and coaching. 
  • Support peer-learning. 
  • Measure change.
  • Profile success and identify solutions that can be scaled up. 

The Zero Waste High-Rise Project is not actively recruiting new buildings or hosting events at this time, but our online tools and guides are available anytime on our website to help you take action!


Thank you to our generous funders

The Zero Waste High-Rise Project was funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded $108 million to 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.

This project was also supported by researchers at the University of Toronto and has research funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.