News Release
June 24, 2019

Approximately 100 local, regional and international key stakeholders from all levels of government, industry, academia and the not-for-profit sector are coming together in Toronto to create a shared vision for a circular economy in the binational Great Lakes region. The inaugural Great Lakes Circular Economy Forum is being co-convened by the United Nations Environment Programme, the City of Toronto and the Council of the Great Lakes Region.

The circular economy aims to reduce waste and maximize resources by moving away from the linear “‘take-make-and-dispose” approach to a more circular system that focuses on product longevity, renewability, reuse and repair as well as resource recovery. Shifting toward a circular economy can improve resource efficiency, promote innovation, and support social prosperity. It can also increase resiliency and drive economic growth.

The Great Lakes Circular Economy Forum will take place from June 24 to 26 in Toronto and will focus on identifying the innovations, policies, infrastructure, investments and collaborations necessary to accelerate circular economy solutions in the Great Lakes region. It will help to contextualize the circular economy, empower business and industry to apply circular principles at every step of the way from product conception to distribution, and establish the roles of government, innovation and technology in creating a Great Lakes circular economy.

The forum is supported by the David Suzuki Foundation, Closed Loop Partners, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Province of Ontario, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Environmental Law Institute and the Circular Economy Leadership Coalition.

As part of its Long Term Waste Management Strategy, the City is working toward a circular economy and zero-waste future. To drive innovation and the growth of a circular economy in Toronto, the City has established a Unit for Research, Innovation and a Circular Economy as well as a circular economy working group.

The City has also created a framework to integrate circular economy principles into City purchasing, established a public working group with stakeholders from key sectors across Toronto and implemented new community reduce and reuse programs that provide opportunities for bike and clothing repair and redistribution of surplus food.

Additionally, the City is investing in infrastructure to turn the biogas produced from processing Toronto’s Green Bin organic waste into renewable natural gas that can be used to fuel collection trucks, creating a closed loop in the waste management system. The next step in the City’s circular economy journey is to work with a wide range of stakeholders and economic sectors to create a Circular Economy Roadmap for Toronto.

More information about the Great Lakes Circular Economy Forum is available at

More information about what the City is doing to move toward a circular economy is available at


“This forum creates a rare opportunity for municipalities, industry leaders and other key stakeholders to work together on developing a circular economy in the Great Lakes region.”
– Toronto Mayor John Tory

“Our global appetite for resources is growing – from 18 billion tonnes of primary material extracted in 1970 to over 60 billion tonnes in 2010. We must urgently decouple economic growth from the wasteful depletion of our finite natural resources. The idea of a circular economy helps us do that, based on simple concepts of reducing waste, reusing materials and redesigning how we create value from products and services. This is not only a necessity – it’s an opportunity, to create a more inclusive and prosperous future.”
– Barbara Hendrie, Regional Director, UN Environment Programme, North America

“We are living in a time of climate change and overconsumption with limited natural resources. It is imperative that we work together to create a more sustainable tomorrow.”  
– Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 11 University-Rosedale), member of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee

“The binational Great Lakes region is North America’s economic engine and uniquely positioned to play a leadership role in transitioning to a circular economy because of its tightly integrated industries, large consumer base, and long-standing history of collaboration across the border and key sectors on a range of economic and environmental issues, including ending plastic waste in our Lakes and waterways.”
– Mark Fisher, President and CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of more than 2.9 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at or on Facebook at

Tamara Staranchuk
Strategic Communications