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[GreenYes] Toronto - Waste reduction forum -link to presentations at end of message

HazMat Magazine,  9/22/2008

Toronto packaging waste forum: report

The City of Toronto is developing several strategies for achieving its aggressive 70 per cent waste reduction target (Target 70), and will use its City of Toronto Act (COTA) to impose bans, fees and other tools.

Geoff Rathbone, general manager of the City of Toronto's Solid Waste Management Services, told the Toronto Packaging Waste Reduction Forum -- an event that drew 130 participants on September 10, 2008 -- that the City currently provides waste management services to over 1,000,000 homes and businesses. This includes 500,000 single family homes, 510,000 multi-unit dwellings, and 20,000 small commercial enterprises. The City also manages 5,000 litter and recycling bins in public spaces, handles the waste of city agencies, boards, commissions and divisions and accepts some private commercial and industrial water at transfer stations.

Currently, all this waste is shipped to Michigan in approximately 80 trucks a day -- a number that is down from its peak of 142 trucks a day in 2001. However, on December 31, 2010 all waste shipments to Michigan will cease. Toronto's new Green Lane landfill, officially acquired on April 2, 2007 will assume the responsibility. The state-of-the-art facility includes landfill gas management and leachate management systems. But perhaps the main difference between the Michigan site and the Green Lane site is that while the Michigan site is tonnage-based, the Green Lane site will be volume-based. At current diversion rates, Green Lane would reach its capacity in 2024. However, if the City of Toronto is able to meet its Target 70, Green Lane could remain in operation until 2034.

Target 70 initiatives that the City of Toronto are planning to implement include a source reduction strategy where residents will subscribe to a volume-based waste bin (small, medium, large and extra large). For example, if a household is able to limit its waste to one small bin every two weeks, it will receive a $10 rebate on its municipal taxes. A large bin, on the other hand, requires $99 extra payment per year. The program is expected to generate $54 million per year to pay for new diversion services. The City also plans to expand curbside recycling by adding new materials such as polystyrene and plastic film to blue bin programs. It also plans to more than double the number of recycling bins in public spaces, from 5,000 to 12,000. The City will also expand green bin programs to apartments, condominiums and townhouses and expand household hazardous waste services.

The City is also developing a plan to reduce 10,000 tonnes, or one per cent of diversion, of in-store packaging. In-store packaging includes hot drink cups, plastic retail carry-out bags and plastic take-out containers. The City will explore options to reduce this waste, including voluntary initiatives and regulation powers the City now has under the COTA. Policy options under the COTA include bans, fees, charges and taxes, licensing powers for deposit-return and leave-behind-at-retail options.

Key policy principles that the city is maintaining while developing its strategies include encouraging consumers to exhibit reduction and reuse behavior. Strategies should also encourage corporate decision-makers to make their product packaging compatible with Toronto's recycling program. The initiatives should not increase average baseline prices for products or place 416-businesses at competitive disadvantages. Above all, new strategies should maximize resident convenience and municipal efficiency, while maintaining Waste Diversion Ontario funding.

The City Toronto's next steps include conducting focus groups, meeting with its 3Rs Citizen Committee Research Group and preparing a report for City Council.'s Web editor Jennifer Holloway attended the Packaging Waste Reduction Forum on September 10, 2008. Over the coming weeks, she will continue to post features that highlight the issues discussed at the event.


Forum presentations are now available on website at .
Next week, Forum Summary Notes, including a list of attendees will also be posted at the above website.


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