Emily Alfred —
As a city council committee reviews a new city plan to deal with Toronto’s waste woes, a new report shows the solutions are literally all around us.
Too often people think the solution to all the garbage we send to landfill is to create better technology to deal with our garbage. In fact, we can dramatically reduce the waste we throw away if the city scales up innovative actions everyday Torontonians are already taking to reduce waste.
Over 85% of what’s in our garbage isn’t actually garbage and can be diverted from landfill using existing city programs. This is one of the interesting facts in a new report released by the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) called Zero Waste Toronto.
We’ve collected examples from across the city of how Torontonians are reducing what they throw away. Now we need City Hall to help scale up these great zero waste actions.
Innovative “zero waste” actions profiled in the report include:
- Mayfair on the Green, a condominium in Scarborough that reduced the waste sent to landfill by 95%, thanks to a committed condo board and building superintendent who are using existing city waste diversion programs.
- Second Harvest, which collected over 3,700 tonnes of unwanted food from restaurants, stores and warehouses and delivered it to food banks and shelters across Toronto.
- The Furniture Bank, which collected more than 61,000 pieces of used furniture and gave them to 7,600 families in need.
- Existing City of Toronto waste diversion programs which, if properly used, could single handedly cut what we send to landfill from 500,000 tonnes to 200,000 tonnes every year.
The city has already built good diversion infrastructure and Torontonians have already created excellent zero-waste programs. Now it’s time for the city to take advantage of these incredible assets. Doing so would mean we don’t need a new landfill until at least 2050.
The report can be found online at www.torontoenvironment.org/zerowaste.
Emily Alfred is a Waste Campaigner at the Toronto Environmental Alliance