Waste Contract Puts Environment at Risk

For Immediate Release
October 21, 2011

Toronto: The Toronto Environmental Alliance warned councillors today that going ahead with a waste contract collection west of Yonge Street puts our environmental goals and waste diversion rates at risk.

“There are too many unanswered questions about how the City will ensure the contractor will handle our waste properly,” said Emily Alfred, Waste Campaigner for the Toronto Environmental Alliance.  “Contract details and standards are important, but a strict contract is useless if no one is watching closely and enforcing penalties.”

There are a number of examples from private waste contracts in Toronto, and in the GTA, that have had problems which compromised waste diversion efforts.

Alfred referred to a City Auditor's report in 2007 that noted waste contract enforcement was lacking, citing insufficient use of penalties. In 2009, monitoring was noted as a problem when a contractor sent organics to landfill, and the City only found out because a news reporter followed a waste truck to Michigan. Problems with contracts in the GTA include York Region recyclables that were sent to landfill for almost two years while the municipality battled with the contractor over contract details.

“We’ve seen contract violations and disputes, and heard how staff haven’t had the resources to monitor properly,” said Alfred. “Contracts need to be monitored to ensure the City gets what it pays for.”

In May, Council voted to ensure that waste collection contracts include further reporting and clear waste diversion and customer service standards. It’s unclear how much the City has set aside for monitoring a waste collection contract for the area west of Yonge Street.

“Without the staff and budget resources to make sure the contract is followed, we’re putting our waste diversion programs and the environment at risk,” Alfred stated.

TEA is asking Council to get full information from City staff on monitoring processes and procedures, costs and details on contract monitoring and enforcement before approving a contract for waste collection west of Yonge Street.

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For more information call Emily Alfred, TEA's Waste Campaigner at 416-596-0660.