Toronto misses garbage target, but deserves credit for trying

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Most big cities are now grappling with what to do with all that garbage

Garbage, garbage everywhere. Big cities across Canada are all struggling with where to put it and how to reduce the quantity. Over the last number of years, many municipalities have introduced measures to begin diverting trash away from the landfill and converting it into other uses.

Some cities want to burn the trash and turn it into energy. Others are introducing curbside composting as a means of reducing what makes it into the big bin. Most have introduced blue box recyling programs. The ideas on what to do with the trash produced in our big cities are endless and most often controversial.

What has become almost commonplace is cities setting targets on how much waste they want to divert away from landfills. Toronto is one city that set a target of diverting 70% of its garbage by the end of 2010. It would appear that they will likely hit the 50% mark instead.

Despite not hitting the target, cutting their waste production in half is still an amazing accomplishment for a city the size of Toronto. Kudos to both city officials and to the citizens of Toronto for putting waste reduction on their radar and for getting as far as they have. I'm confident it won't be long before they'll be hitting at 70% target and beyond.


Getting people to put less in their garbage bins is tough. I think a good step was taken by PoCo to collect every 2nd week, and limit the size of the garbage containers.

Another step in Vancouver's case would be to expand what they are able to recycle. Why can't I leave a milk carton in my blue box? They can be recycled, but I have to take them to an Encorp depot (and there's no deposit refund). I do it, but I'm sure many people don't. Other recyclable plastics aren't accepted by the blue box, or Encorp.

Kudos to Toronto.

On a similar note, the Whitecaps have initiated a zero waste policy at Swangard. On opening night I think they recycled 11% of the waste in the stadium. Over September they hit 70%. I can't find anything on their website about it; they definitely should be advertising it to the public (they do have signs all over the stadium). Pretty impressive for a few months. And all it is is some extra bins labeled appropriately.

The term garbage can be applied broadly to everything from tree branches to old paint, creating a problem for one-size-fits-all disposal methods.

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