Looking Back at the City's Green Bin Program

14 years ago, Torontonians started falling in love with their Green Bins! Etobicoke residents were the first to get their Green Bins in September 2002. It all started two years earlier when TEA and the Canadian Union of Public Employees proposed Green Bin pick up to City Council as an alternative to sending valuable organics to the proposed Adams Mine landfill.

In the year that followed, the City committed to a target of diverting 70% of our waste away from landfill by focusing on comprehensive recycling and launching the first major Green Bin program in North America.

By recycling organics, Toronto produces compost that enriches soils, replaces chemical fertilizers, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Most of Toronto’s Green Bin waste ends up at two City owned anaerobic digesters, which turn organic material into compost and will soon capture the methane to use as a renewable energy. Leaf and yard waste is collected by the City and turned into a nutrient-rich compost that residents can pick up for free at Community Environment Days. 

The Green Bin is widely used by residents living in houses, but most residents living in apartments and condominiums are not yet using this service. Most offices, restaurants and businesses do not separate organic waste at all unless they are a small business with City collection. The roll out of the Green Bin program was a big zero waste victory but we're not done yet.

TEA is calling for equal access to Green Bin organics collection for all buildings regardless of where we live, work, study and play. Learn more in our report: Zero Waste Toronto: A Vision for Our City.