November 15, 2019

Solid Waste Management Services is a rate-based program where residents pay fees for the services they receive based on the size of their garbage bin. The volume-based rate structure was designed to encourage residents to divert as much as possible away from landfill. Residents with the largest garbage bins pay the most and those with the smallest pay the least.

As part of the Long Term Waste Management Strategy (Waste Strategy), which was approved by City Council in 2016, the City has an aspirational goal of zero waste and is working toward a circular economy. The recommended 2020 Budget provides funding to support the continued implementation of the Waste Strategy and the long-term financial sustainability of Solid Waste Management Services’ operations and capital projects.

Solid Waste Management Services overview

  • Provides solid waste collection services to almost 900,000 residential homes, businesses, institutions, charities, religious organizations, schools, and City divisions, agencies and corporations. Services include collection and management of Green Bin organics, Blue Bin recycling, garbage, oversized waste, yard waste, electronics and household hazardous waste.
  • Maintains and services approximately $700 million worth of infrastructure assets including seven transfer stations (six with Household Hazardous Waste Depots); one operating landfill (Green Lane Landfill) and 160 closed landfills; two organics processing facilities (one recently expanded); 1.5 million residential bins; five work yards; and approximately 750 vehicles and pieces of equipment.
  • Supports city beautification and cleanliness by collecting garbage and recycling from approximately 10,000 park bins and 9,500 street bins and providing cleanup for more than 2,000 special events a year.
  • Manages approximately 900,000 tonnes of waste each year.

Budget overview

The recommended 2020 Solid Waste Management Services budgets consist of an:

  • Operating Budget of $378.9 million including a capital reserve contribution of $18.8 million;
  • Capital Budget of $81.3 million in 2020; and a
  • 10-Year Recommended Capital Plan of $768.1 million.

Key opportunities for 2020

  • Continued implementation of the Long Term Waste Management Strategy with a focus on waste reduction, reuse and circular economy initiatives
  • Development of a strategy to prepare for the transition of the Blue Box Program to full extended producer responsibility (EPR), including analysis of potential implications for the City of Toronto, timelines and management of contracts to align with anticipated transition dates
  • Implementation of the Vision Zero 2.0 recommendations to install telematics solutions on collection trucks to enhance their safety
  • Advancing the Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy
  • Continued engagement with the Province and stakeholders on how to address the implications of evolving packaging
  • Development and implementation of a strategy to reduce contamination in the Blue Bin recycling stream
  • Continued conversion of the Solid Waste Management Services collection fleet from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG) to reduce noise, greenhouse gas emissions and fuel costs
  • Increasing tipping fees at transfer stations and limiting the material coming in to Toronto-only sources, in an effort to extend the life of Green Lane Landfill and recover costs
  • Completing state-of-good-repair projects at landfills, transfer stations and collection yards

Rate overview

  • When rates are increased, it is to maintain and/or enhance service levels, cover rising operational costs and fund planned capital projects.
  • A 2.45 per cent blended rate increase is recommended for 2020. The proposed increase is in line with the rate of inflation and expected to generate approximately $7.1 million.
  • Recommended rate increases vary across customer groups to allow for greater financial sustainability and full cost recovery for the services provided to each group.
  • For 2020:
    • Multi-residential properties (apartment buildings and condos) have a recommended rate increase of 1.5 per cent
    • Single family residential and residential units above commercial properties, have a recommended rate increase of 2.5 per cent
    • Non-residential customers (industrial, commercial, institutional properties, schools, as well as City Divisions, Agencies and Corporations) have a recommended rate increase of 6 per cent
  • The total revenue generation impact of these varied rate increases is equivalent to an across-the-board 2.45 per cent rate increase. Detailed rate charts are available in Appendix A (p. 22-27).


  • There are no new fees being proposed.
  • It is recommended that tip fees at transfer stations increase by 25 per cent.
  • It is recommended that the price of products such as garbage bag tags, and commercial organics, recycling and garbage carts and the annual oversized fee increase by 6 per cent.

Priority actions over the next 10 years

  • Climate change resiliency projects that will reduce environmental impacts, support growth and allow the City to manage risk, including:
    • the acceleration of a third organics processing facility (begin building in 2024 versus 2036)
    • renewable natural gas (RNG) infrastructure that will allow the City to harness the green energy potential of biogas/landfill gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and potentially generate revenue that can be reinvested into green infrastructure projects.
  • Work to identify and secure alternative landfill capacity and study long-term disposal options.
  • Exploring ways to increase diversion and the continued development of performance-based metrics that reflect how much waste is generated, reduced, reused and disposed of to provide an overall picture of performance.

10-year financial plan

  • A 10-year financial strategy is being recommended to ensure Solid Waste Management Services has adequate funds to finance its long-term capital needs.
  • The 10-year plan recommends a blended rate increase of 2.45 per cent in 2020, 2.7 per cent in 2021 and then 3 per cent each year from 2022-2029.
  • The plan is based on extended producer responsibility (EPR) being implemented by the Province in 2023 and the City transitioning that same year, as this will result in cost savings. If EPR is not implemented or the City does not transition in the first year, a further percentage increase of approximately 1 per cent will be necessary each year starting in 2023 until the City transitions to full EPR.

Impact of single-family 2020 rate increase

Bin Size 2020 Fees* Increase over 2019
Small $266.24 $6.49
Medium $323.20 $7.88
Large $438.96 $10.71
Extra-large $509.15 $12.42
Bag-only $170.44 $4.16

*Rate prior to the application of rebate

The Solid Waste rebates will be determined as part of the tax-supported budget process, which will launch on January 10, 2020 and be completed on February 19, 2020.

Tamara Staranchuk
Strategic Communications