Zero Waste + Reusables

While you may not be throwing these items out every day, Torontonians have a lot of reusable items that get tossed in the garbage, such as clothing, toys and furniture. Reusing items is even better than recycling, as it conserves the energy and resources that went into making those products. Reuse has social benefits as it makes affordable goods available to the community and supports small businesses and social enterprises.

Zero waste strategies reuse durable materials to benefit the community socially and economically.

The City of Toronto collects reusable goods for donation at annual Community Environment Days and has an online Reuse Guide of places to donate goods. Many Toronto charities and small businesses collect reusable clothing, furniture and other goods to donate, sell or swap, giving items a second chance.

THE FURNITURE BANK - This Toronto non-profit collected more than 61,000 pieces of usable furniture to redistribute for free to more than 7,600 families and people in need - including refugees and formerly homeless individuals.

KIND EXCHANGE - This clothing store buys, trades and sells gently used clothing, footwear and accessories in Toronto. Part of their proceeds go to charitable partners and in only a few years they have opened 10 locations.

Zero waste strategies reduce the need for new goods by repairing and restoring things in ways that foster a circular and sharing economy.

Community groups and repair businesses are helping people save money and make their goods last longer with skill and tool sharing to maintain and repair durable goods like clothing, appliances, computers and furniture.

TORONTO TOOL LIBRARY - They have loaned out more than 25,000 tools since 2013, so people don’t have to buy their own. They have 4 locations - including one in a Toronto Public Library and a downtown express location.

REPAIR CAFE TORONTO - In 2015 they have mobilized more than 72 volunteers to teach more than 1,000 people how to repair their own goods, keeping more than 1,050 items out of Toronto’s landfill. Expansion plans include holding more community events and collaborating with The Toronto Public Library.

Zero waste requires companies to play their part to make goods more durable.

Many products sold in Ontario have no warranty, break down easily and are difficult to repair. Companies need to be held responsible to improve the life span of what they sell.

EUROPEAN UNION & QUEBEC - Consumer protection laws in these places require longer warranties on all durable goods. This puts an expectation on companies to make products that are more durable, and repairable.


This page is from TEA's report Zero Waste Toronto.