September 1, 1999
From:Barry H. Gutteridge
Commissioner, Works and Emergency Services
Subject:Wet Waste Collection From Businesses in the City of Toronto
To respond to a request from City Council to research options for a pilot project and full implementation of a wet waste
collection program for businesses in the City of Toronto.
Funding Sources, Financial Implications and Impact Statement:
There are no financial implications arising from this report.
It is recommended that this report be received for information.
At its meeting of April 26, 27 and 28, Council had before it Report No. 8 of the Strategic Policies and Priorities
Committee. In part, the report addressed a 3 year phase-in plan for charging mandatory service fees to all small commercial
locations currently receiving more than twice a week garbage collection. One of the amendments Council made to the
report was to request that the Commissioner of Works and Emergency Services submit a report to the Works Committee
"on the feasibility of quickly developing a program for wet waste collection from businesses in the City of Toronto, for
compost purposes, at no charge to businesses, such report to address options in this regard, including a pilot project and
full implementation, as soon as possible."
Comments and Discussion:
Currently, there are over 3,800 businesses that receive more than twice a week garbage collection in the City of Toronto.
Of these, over 3000 are high organics generators, mostly restaurants and some green grocers. Of the 3000 organics
generating businesses, there are approximately 150 in specific areas of York and Etobicoke that get three collections a
week and over 2800 in Toronto that get five and six collections a week. These are the businesses that should be targeted for
wet waste collection.
In 1996, the Works Department undertook a commercial wet waste collection pilot project as part of the 3Rs Pilot Projects
initiative. The pilot involved two restaurants and two green grocers in the Dundas/Spadina area of the City of Toronto
separately storing and setting out organic waste in 32 and 64 gallon wheeled carts. The project ran for three months from
October to December. Participants were provided with six night a week organics collection. Participation in the pilot
project was sporadic. Several issues became evident during the course of the pilot. Participants felt that they did not have
adequate space on their premises for carts and that it was difficult getting the carts to the curb. For example, carts had to be
moved up and down stairs and moved long distances from laneways to the curb. Participants also felt that the carts were
less convenient than bags and that it was too labour intensive to separate organic material from other waste. There was also
a significant amount of time spent by municipal staff in working with each of the individual businesses to overcome
logistical problems associated with the separation and set-out of organics. These factors need to be taken into account when
considering whether to develop another commercial wet waste program.
Sanitation issues related to organics storage also pose challenges. The waste management requirements of the Food
Premises Regulation under the Health Protection and Promotion Act need to be considered in the development of a
commercial wet waste program. Section 57 of Regulation 562 of the Revised Regulations of Ontario state that "garbage
and wastes shall be removed from a food premise at least twice weekly or as often as necessary; and that except where a
daily collection service is provided, placed in a separate room or place, compartment or bin so constructed and maintained
as to exclude insects and vermin and prevent odours and health hazards on the premises."
In order to meet the requirements of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, two options for a commercial wet waste
program for food related businesses such as restaurants and green grocers have been identified. The first option would be to
provide twice a week organics collection with a cart-based system for storing the organics between collections. The two
organics collections would replace two garbage collections. Carts are costly to provide ($85 per cart) and difficult for
businesses to store on the premises and maneuver to the curb for collection. As a result, participation is likely to be low as
demonstrated in the 1996 pilot.
The second option would be a bag-based system. A bag based collection system may provide less storage challenges,
however may prove to be less sanitary in terms of breakage and leaks and may require the use of special bags and special
leak-proof rear-loading packer trucks. Bags would require six night per week organics collection in addition to at least once
a week regular garbage collection.
Under both options, the collected organic material would have to be transferred to a remote composting facility (e.g., Peel
Region's Caledon Composting Facility or Guelph's Wet/Dry Plant). The tipping fees at these facilities are expected to be
$80 and $40 per tonne respectively.
In summary, separate organics collection from commercial establishments will result in additional system costs and will
not eliminate the need to charge service fees.
A potential alternative to separate organics collection would be to include organic rich material from businesses as
feedstock in a pilot project at the Dufferin Mixed Waste Recycling and Composting Facility, which will be operational
next year. The facility will be able to accept organic rich mixed waste and convert it into compost and energy. This
approach would require no special promotion/education campaign, no special collection containers and no special
equipment. Staff are already planning such a pilot project.
Due to the logistical difficulties and high costs associated with developing a wet waste collection for businesses, it is not
recommended to proceed with a pilot or full implementation at this time. In terms of waste diversion potential, staff are
planning a future pilot project taking organic-rich business waste to the Dufferin Mixed Waste Recycling and Composting
facility to be processed. This would provide a high waste diversion potential while providing a needed feedstock for testing
the new facility which is expected to be operational mid 2000.
Coordinator, Waste Diversion Planning
Solid Waste Management Services
Works and Emergency Services
Metro Hall, 19th Floor
Angelos BacopoulosBarry H. Gutteridge
Solid Waste Management ServicesWorks and Emergency Services