While Toronto residents are fairly good at using the City’s Blue Bin, over 20% of a typical residential garbage bag is filled with recyclable materials. That means up to 84,000 tonnes of recyclable resources are landfilled every year.
Zero waste strategies recycle as many things as possible, and work to reduce packaging and reuse things instead of choosing disposables.
A big portion of our waste is single-use disposable products and packaging made of paper, plastic, metal and glass that can be recycled.
Zero waste requires strategies provide equal access to Blue Bin recycling for all buildings.
Not all buildings in Toronto recycle the same materials. This makes things confusing, as what you can recycle at home may not be recyclable at school or work. Businesses and institutions have an average diversion rate of only 11%. Many only recycle a few materials, like paper and cans, and some don’t recycle at all.
AUSTIN, SAN FRANCISCO & VANCOUVER - These cities require businesses to collect all the same materials that are recycled at home and school.
TORONTO - Small businesses that use City waste collection services have an average diversion rate of 64%, six times higher than the average business in Ontario.
Zero waste needs companies to do their part by reducing packaging and redesigning products to be more recyclable.
New Provincial waste rules will make all companies that import or make products and packaging in Ontario responsible for the cost of recycling those products and packaging. Called “extended producer responsibility,” it gives companies an incentive to reduce packaging and make their products easier to recycle. This will save the City of Toronto up to $30 Million each year on collecting, sorting and processing these materials.
Many businesses around the world are showing how this can happen.
HARMONY DAIRY & THE BEER STORE - These companies have created business models where they take full responsibility for their product packaging. They use refillable beverage containers and deposit return programs to ensure the containers get returned to them and therefore never end up in our municipal waste system.
This page is from TEA's report Zero Waste Toronto.