Many items that can be reused are thrown out every day. To help build a culture of waste reduction, reuse, sharing and repairing in Toronto, the City is implementing five Community Reduce & Reuse Programs.

The Community Reduce & Reuse Programs are part of the Long Term Waste Management Strategy implementation and support the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy. They will help to build sustainable communities and reduce the amount waste going to landfill by:

  • educating residents about the importance of waste reduction and reuse
  • providing opportunities for sharing and repairing
  • offering skills training and creating job and economic opportunities
  • creating spaces for community members to gather.

The program sites are based primarily in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas – parts of Toronto where the City and partners are investing in people, services, programs and facilities to strengthen social, economic and physical conditions – and include multi-residential buildings and community hubs. The City is working in collaboration with various local agencies and non-profit organizations to deliver the programs.

Development and implementation of the programs began in 2017 and will be complete by the end of 2020.

All programs are free to the public.

This program helps reduce food waste and benefit the broader community by collecting surplus fruits and vegetables from residents’ backyards and redistributing them to local food banks and programs. It also provide opportunities to learn about preserving food through canning workshops.

As of April 2019, 1,550 kilograms of surplus fruits and vegetables have been redistributed and 29 canning and preserving workshops have taken place.

The City is partnering with FoodShareBlack Creek Community Farm and Rexdale Community Health Centre to deliver the Urban Harvest program.

This program provides workshop spaces to encourage repair and reuse of clothing and other textiles to help reduce the amount of textiles discarded each year. Program activities include regular instruction on the basics of alterations and repairs and opportunities to make and design clothes from repurposed textiles. The program also provides an opportunity for residents to access tools, equipment and supplies needed to repair their own clothing.

As of April 2019, nearly 1,700 kilograms of clothing and textiles have been diverted from landfill through the program.

The City is partnering with Progress Place, Scadding Court Community Centre, Delta Family Resource Centre, and Rexdale Women’s Centre to deliver the Sewing Repair Hubs program.

This program provides dedicated workshop spaces to train residents in bicycle assembly, repair, maintenance and safety. It also provides residents with access to tools, equipment and supplies needed to repair bicycles. Program activities include Earn-a-Bike, DIY sessions, Repair Clinics and more. Bicycle Repair Hubs help to promote the cycling culture and waste diversion by giving bicycles that would have otherwise become scrap metal a new life.

As of April 2019, over 1,000 bikes have been repaired/refurbished through the program.

The City is partnering with Access AllianceCultureLink, South Riverdale Community Health Centre, Bikes without Borders, Evergreen, Flemingdon Health Centre, and The Neighbourhood Organization to deliver the Bicycle Repair Hubs program.

This program equips resident groups with the tools, skills and knowledge to maintain a community garden and turn yard waste into compost. The program provides composters and information about composting techniques to residents at existing and new community gardens, as well as the tools, equipment and supplies needed to compost yard waste. It also serves as an opportunity to learn about the importance of reducing food waste and the benefits of composting.

As of April 2019, 30 composters have been built through the program.

The City is partnering with FoodShare to deliver the Community Composting program.

This program promotes the reusing, sharing, repairing and repurposing of items to prolong their life. It also enables and encourages residents to share items with others in their community.

The City is partnering with The Neighbourood Organization and Rexdale Women’s Centre to deliver the Sharing and Reuse Space program.