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Service Review - Waste programs

The first report on the Toronto Core Service Review outlining ‘Opportunities’ for savings to the Public Works Committee (including Transportation, Water and Solid Waste) came before Public Works on Monday July 18.

See the agenda, report and other documents on the City website here (Suggested cuts are in Appendix A, Part 2).

Read deputations by TEA staff to the Committee about the environmental risks of these suggested cuts. 

The consultants note throughout their report that all Solid Waste services (including collection, disposal, recycling, and education programs) are funded entirely by user fees and external contributions. Any savings here will not impact the City’s budget shortfall.

As noted in the report, 96% of services reviewed by Public Works Committee are 'core' - mandatory services legislated by the Province, or essential to basic functioning of the city. The consultants were able to find only $10-15 million in savings from the over $1 billion budget overseen by Public Works.

Suggested service cuts 

REDUCE DIVERSION TARGETS - reduce our waste diversion (recycling, organics etc) targets and let more waste go to landfill because it's cheaper. This would primarily impact multi-residential buildings that are anxiously awaiting waste diversion programs like Green Bins and improved recycling programs.

The consultants wrongly state that Toronto's target of 70% diversion of waste from landfill is too high, and it's just too expensive to reach. They don't notice that the Ontario government requires a minimum target of 60%, and all other cities in the GTA have a 70% or higher diversion target (Markham - 75%, Mississauga, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Pickering, Ajax, Oshawa and Guelph - 70%, Hamilton, Kingston and St Catherines - 65%).

CANCEL THE TOXIC TAXI - cut the Toxic Taxi, a free pick-up service for household hazardous wastes that might otherwise end up in landfills or worse, down the drain! This means the only way to safely dispose of hazardous waste is to drive to a drop-off depot during specified hours - not accessible for many people. 

CANCEL COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENT DAYS - cancel the Community Environment Days that every Councillor holds once a year in their Ward. These CE days are a great opportunity to learn more about the City's green initiatives, drop off household hazardous and electronic wastes, pick up free City compost and much more. *CE Days are fully funded from an external source - so it's unclear why it should be cut.

STOP SMALL BUSINESS COLLECTION - stop providing waste collection services to small businesses. This includes key waste diversion services like green bins and recycling that would be prohibitively expensive for small businesses through a private collector. It will inevitably result in more garbage going to landfill.

CONTRACT OUT GARBAGE COLLECTION - this is an ongoing fight at City Hall. They continue to assume that they can save money by contracting out the waste collection service west of Yonge Street but have still not provided the proof to back it up. Waste diversion levels, health & safety are top of mind concerns.
See TEA's report on the environmental risks of private waste collection Look Before You Leap

*For more notes on the suggested cuts, read the attached file at the bottom of the page

TEA Notes - Service Review - Waste Programs29.5 KB