The City of Toronto has been recognized for its circular economy efforts on the global stage as a finalist in the Public Sector Category of the 2019 Circulars.

 

As part of the Long Term Waste Management Strategy, the City of Toronto is working towards an aspirational goal of zero waste and a Circular Economy. A Circular Economy aims to reduce waste and maximize resources by moving away from the linear take-make-and-dispose approach to an innovative system that focuses on product longevity, renewability, reuse and repair.

Transition to a Circular Economy provides opportunities to:

  • enhance social and environmental outcomes
  • improve economic performance and profitability
  • decrease the risk associated with relying on external sources of raw materials and labour
  • increase the resiliency of City services and infrastructure.

To drive innovation and the growth of a Circular Economy in Toronto, the City has established a Unit for Research, Innovation & a Circular Economy within the Solid Waste Management Services Division. The Unit is involved in research and planning as well as incorporating Circular Economy principles into new programs, policies, procurement and processes. The overarching goal of the unit is to make Toronto the first municipality in Ontario with a Circular Economy.

The City is a member of the National Zero Waste Council (NZWC) Circular Economy Working Group as well as the global Circular Economy 100 (CE100) network, created by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

A Circular Economy approach to service delivery challenges the City to rethink how it can provide services to residents based on three core principles:

  1. We can find new ways to deliver our services, purchase materials that we need to do our work, and enter into contracts with service providers in a way that reduces our reliance on non-renewable resources and minimizes our carbon footprint.
  2. Once any resource is in use, we can find ways to collaborate with others or ask the marketplace and industry to work on opportunities to extend resource lifecycles to ensure maximum useful potential (think reduce, share, repair, reuse, recycle and energy recovery from organics).
  3. We can continue looking for ways to redesign our systems and service delivery in order to reduce any waste or inefficiency through a combination of research, collaboration, innovation, prototyping and pilot projects.