January 10, 2023

Solid Waste Management Services is committed to ensuring that waste is collected in a safe, timely, reliable and environmentally and financially sustainable way.

Solid Waste Management Services is a rate-based program where single-family residents pay fees for services they receive based on the size of their garbage bin, and multi-residential buildings with City waste collection pay based on the amount of garbage their buildings produce. The volume-based rate structure was designed to encourage residents to divert as much waste as possible away from landfill. Single-family residents with the largest garbage bins pay the most and those with the smallest pay the least. Similarly, multi-residential buildings that produce more garbage pay more than those that produce less.

In addition to residential garbage collection, Solid Waste Management Services fees pay for the collection and processing of recycling, yard waste, organics, oversized and metal items, household hazardous waste and electronics. Solid Waste Management Services fees also fund city-wide litter collection, Community Environment Days, street and park bin collection, drop-off-depots and ongoing care of closed landfills and more.

The tabled 2023 budget provides funding to support the delivery of solid waste management programs and services as well as safety enhancements to trucks, state-of-good-repair projects for solid waste infrastructure and the continued development of renewable energy infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also supports the continued implementation of the Long Term Waste Management Strategy, Toronto’s move towards a circular economy 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 approximately 870,000 residential homes/units, 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 and metal items, yard waste, electronics and household hazardous waste.
  • Maintains and services approximately $814 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; 1.9 million residential bins and containers; four yards; and approximately 700 vehicles and pieces of equipment.
  • Supports city beautification and cleanliness by collecting litter and waste from approximately 11,000 park bins and 10,300 street bins and providing cleanup for special events.
  • Manages close to 900,000 tonnes (almost two billion pounds) of waste each year. This includes garbage, recycling, organics, yard waste and more.

Budget Overview

The tabled 2023 Solid Waste Management Services budget consists of:

  • An Operating Budget of $398.2 million plus a capital reserve contribution of $12 million
  • A Capital Budget of $88.5 million (comprised of $84.6 million in planned 2023 funding and $3.9 million in funding carried forward from 2022)
  • A 10-year Capital Plan of $1.1 billion.

This budget allows Solid Waste Management Services to maintain all current service levels and allocates sufficient funds to the reserve to finance and support future capital needs in the 10-year capital plan.

Key Priorities for 2023

  • Continued implementation of safety enhancements for collection trucks and enhanced training to ensure the safety of staff and the public.
  • Preparation for the transition of the City’s blue bin recycling program to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) on July 1, 2023 and continued advocacy for a seamless transition that reflects the best interests of the City and Toronto residents.
  • Construction of renewable natural gas infrastructure at the Disco Road Organics Processing Facility, scheduled to be complete by early 2024.
  • Planning and design work to accelerate a third organics processing facility (scheduled to begin construction in 2026 – versus 2036 – with expected completion in 2028).
  • Continued implementation of the Long Term Waste Management Strategy with a focus on waste reduction and reuse, and a review of accomplishments since the Strategy was adopted in 2016.
  • Continued work to transition Toronto to a circular economy, including the development of a Circular Economy Road Map for Toronto.
  • Planning for the future development of renewable natural gas infrastructure at Green Lane Landfill, including continued engagement with First Nations communities in close proximity to the landfill.
  • Continued exploration and study of long-term disposal options for Toronto’s garbage to ensure sufficient future capacity.
  • Enhancements to public space litter collection to meet the needs of a growing Toronto and support city beautification.
  • Continued efforts to reduce contamination in and increase diversion of waste from street and park litter bins.
  • 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.
  • Further development of the strategy to reduce the use of single-use and takeaway items in Toronto with final options to be presented to City Council for consideration in 2023.
  • Advocacy and engagement with the provincial and federal governments and stakeholders on how to address the implications of managing new and evolving packaging and policy measures to reduce plastic waste and single-use items.
  • Exploration and implementation of strategies to retain and attract employees.
  • Completion of state-of-good-repair projects at landfills, transfer stations and collection yards.

Rate Overview and Fee Changes

  • The proposed Solid Waste Management Services rate increase for 2023 is three per cent (as forecasted in the 10-year financial plan submitted in 2022).
  • The proposed increase to the price of items such as garbage bag tags, and commercial organics, recycling and garbage carts is also three per cent for 2023.
  • The proposed rates were approved as interim rates by City Council on December 14, so that they could take effect January 1, 2023, and may still be amended throughout the City Budget process.
  • To ensure that Solid Waste Management Services can continue to maintain and enhance service levels, cover operational costs and fund planned capital projects, a rate increase of three per cent is also planned for 2024 and each year after until 2032.
Priority actions during the next 10 years
  • Ensure that Solid Waste Management Services has sufficient funding to continue to maintain and enhance service levels, cover rising operational costs and fund planned capital projects.
  • Advance 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 (start construction in 2026 – versus 2036 – with expected completion in 2028)
    • renewable energy infrastructure at additional City waste management facilities such as the Disco Organics Processing Facility, Green Lane Landfill and Keele Valley Landfill to further reduce greenhouse gas emission.
  • Continue to foster and strengthen relationships with First Nations communities in close proximity to Green Lane Landfill through enhanced engagement.
  • Continue to promote and enable waste reduction and reuse through public education and the funding of Community Reduce and Reuse Programs.
  • Continue long-term planning for the disposal of Toronto’s garbage including work to identify and secure landfill capacity (e. review of options to contract, purchase, build, expand) and explore additional long-term disposal options, such as energy from waste.
  • Analyze the financial impacts of the Blue Box transition to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), and review cost allocations and the Solid Waste Management Services rate structure to ensure long-term financial sustainability following the transition.
  • Continue to focus on performance-based metrics that reflect how much waste is generated, reduced, reused and disposed of, versus just weight-based metrics such as diversion rates that do not provide an overall picture of performance or take into account the evolving nature of packaging.
10-year financial plan
  • A 10-year financial strategy has been developed to ensure Solid Waste Management Services has adequate funds to finance its long-term capital needs.
  • This strategy takes into account the financial impacts of the transition of the City’s recycling program to Extended Producer Responsibility, which is scheduled to take place on July 1, 2023.

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