The City’s Long Term Waste Management Strategy (Waste Strategy) envisions a zero waste future and includes recommendations about how to get there. Today, the City is delivering on a number of those recommendations through the implementation of various new programs that support waste reduction, reuse and the move towards a circular economy.

On June 9, 2021, Toronto City Council approved the Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy – Stage 1 report to help reduce single-use and takeaway items in Toronto. 

The Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy – Stage 2 staff report was approved by Toronto City Council on December 15, 2023.

City Council adopted the Update and Action Plan on the Single-Use and Takeaway Items Reduction Strategy, including the Circular Food Innovators Fund with amendments including the adoption of a new Single-Use and Takeaway Items By-law, which takes effect March 1, 2024.

To help foster a culture of waste reduction, sharing, repairing and reuse in Toronto, the City is implementing five new Community Reduce & Reuse Programs. Together, the programs will help to build sustainable communities and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

These programs support the Waste Strategy by:

  • Promoting waste reduction and providing sharing and reuse opportunities
  • Involving community partners to deliver the programs
  • Focusing on the multi-residential sector where opportunities for greater diversion exist.

The City’s TOwaste app provides residents with access to their collection schedule, the Waste Wizard sorting tool and drop-off depot and donation locations right from their phone or tablet.

The app was recommended as part of the Waste Strategy and supports its waste reduction, reuse and waste diversion goals as well as its focus on providing a user-friendly waste management system and enhanced information and public education tools.

A pilot program in 2018, 2019 and 2020 offered Waste Reduction Community Grants of up to $25,000 to support innovative community-based efforts to reduce residential waste and increase waste diversion.

The grants reflected the Waste Strategy’s guiding principles of:

  • working with community partners to enhance access to waste diversion programs
  • increasing public engagement
  • working together to deliver services.

The City of Toronto has partnered with the National Zero Waste Council, and other Canadian cities and major food retailers on a national effort to reduce food waste.

The campaign is called Love Food Hate Waste. and supports the Waste Strategy’s recommendation to create a food waste reduction strategy that focuses on information and outreach programs to educate residents about the economic, environmental and social benefits of food waste reduction.

In 2018 and 2019 the City’s Solid Waste Management Services Division piloted an Artist-in-Residence program to generate public conversation and awareness about waste management. The program supported the recommendations in the City’s Long Term Waste Management Strategy to find new and innovative communication tactics to reach those who may not have been previously engaged.

As part of the pilot program, the artists, Sean Martindale and JP King, created a public photo exhibit titled “Our Desires Fail Us,” which was on display outdoors at the Harbourfront Centre until April 2019. The exhibit featured photographs shot within the City’s waste management facilities, and confronted society’s disconnected relationship with the vast amount of waste generated by consumer culture.