Public Education for Waste Diversion, not Consultants, should be city priority

For Immediate Release
March 12, 2013

Toronto: A new city report on what to do with Toronto’s garbage is proposing to hire consultants to review incineration and disposal options instead of helping Torontonians divert more from landfill, says city hall environmental watchdog group, TEA.

“Two-thirds of what is in the garbage bin at the curb can be diverted. Almost 89% of what’s in the garbage of highrise residents can be diverted,” says Franz Hartmann, Executive Director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance. “We need to invest in educating the public about how to divert more, before throwing any money at consultants.”

Hartmann noted the city’s waste diversion efforts are incomplete. “It’s not enough to just give people a green bin and a recycling bin: the city needs to do much more ongoing public education. This will be extremely cheap and will have a long lasting positive impact.”

More public education is also what Torontonians want. A recent TEA report pointed to a 2006 survey of GTA residents that indicated 97% of people believed increased education and promotion was needed to improve recycling rates (see page 9 of Leaping to 80 at

Public education is needed because what can be diverted from landfill is always changing. What can go in the Blue Box today is different from what went in the Blue Box even just one year ago. Also, there are now new programs to pick up electronics and bulky items that did not exist years ago. For Torontonians living in apartment buildings and getting a green bin for the first time, public education is key to its proper use.

“Before hiring a consultant to tell us what to do with our garbage, we need City Hall to develop and roll out a concrete public education campaign with a specific budget and targets to reduce what we send to landfill,” said Hartmann. “We already know it’s the cheapest and most effective way to proceed. This is the message we will be sending to Councillors when they consider the staff report on March 19th.”  


For more information, contact: Franz Hartmann, 416-606-8881.

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