Trash diversion in Toronto: A tale of 2 cities - CBC News

City must push recycling harder in apartments, environmental group says

CBC News, Nov 11, 2015

Coun. Gord Perks says it's a challenge to "get recycling going at apartment buildings." Only 29 percent of waste generated by apartment and condo dwellers is being diverted from landfill sites.

When it comes to taking out the trash, there are two different stories in this city.

Toronto has a target of diverted 70 per cent of waste from landfill. And while homeowners are nearly there, coming in at about 68 per cent, apartment dwellers are bringing down the number, with only 29 per cent of the waste they generate getting diverted. 

Rob Orpin, acting deputy manager of the city's solid waste management services, says all residents can do more to reuse and recycle properly.

"Those blue bins you see on the street and grey bin and green bins on residential streets... they're doing quite well," Orpin said. "Where we're having challenges is the condos and the apartments."

 "People are anonymous in large buildings and you have a garbage chute so there's not much incentive to divert," he added.

Toronto Coun. Gord Perks agrees with Orpin.

"We're making good progress but we've got a couple of very big challenges," Perks said, one of them being "apartment buildings where it's hard to get recycling going."

Perks says "often they don't have the right equipment, the chutes will be too small or they won't have any place to store compost. But I think we're going to be one of the first places in the world to really crack the nut of how to do apartment buildings better."

Push recycling in apartments

The Toronto Environmental Alliance says the city must push recycling harder in apartments.

Emily Allred of Toronto Environmental Alliance says the city's been "rolling out green bins to these buildings and has been doing more education but they need to do more…more workshops, more support for residents."

Orpin says most of the new condos coming on line in the last decade are equipped with modern recycling amenities.

He added that the city is looking at how to make it more expensive to throw out garbage.


"Money changes people's behaviour," Orpin said.

At last Friday's budget committee, city staff proposed a three per cent waste rate hike. This Friday, the city will host a public consultation about waste rates increasing.


"Our clock is really ticking," Perks said. "During this term of council we are going to have to start putting some plans in place and pursuing long-term disposal."


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