The City is responsible for the collection, transport, processing and disposal of over 900,000 tonnes of waste a year. This includes garbage, Blue Bin recycling, Green Bin organics, yard waste, oversized and metal items, household hazardous waste and electronic waste and requires a sophisticated network of facilities.

The City has seven transfer stations where waste is collected, sorted and then transferred to various processing/disposal facilities, which include the Disco Road Organics Processing Facility, Dufferin Organics Processing Facility, Material Recovery Facility and Green Lane Landfill.

The City collects approximately 145,000 tonnes of organics a year and processes the majority of it within city limits.

The City’s two Organics Processing Facilities (Dufferin and Disco Road) use innovative pre-processing systems followed by anaerobic digestion —  a process where microorganisms, in the absence of oxygen, break down the material to produce:

  • digester solids, which can be used to create high quality compost
  • and biogas, which is made up of methane gas, carbon dioxide and other trace elements and typically flared (burned off).

The City is planning  to install equipment at both organics processing facilities and two  landfill sites that will allow it to upgrade biogas into renewable natural gas (RNG), which can then be used to fuel solid waste collection trucks. The first site to receive the new equipment will be Dufferin.

Disco Road Organics Processing Facility

Completed in summer 2014, the Disco Road Organics Processing Facility, currently processes 75,000 tonnes of organics per year using a state-of-the-art wet pre-processing system and anaerobic digestion. After arriving at the facility, organic material is pre-processed in a hydropulper where it is mixed with water to facilitate the removal of the non-organic materials. This is followed by anaerobic digestion.

The Disco Road Organics Processing Facility is North America’s first full-scale municipal source-separated organics/green bin waste processing operation to use anaerobic digestion. The Disco facility:

  • features a sophisticated odour control system
  • incorporates the harvesting of rainwater
  • uses biogas in dual-fired boilers to meet processing demand and help heat the building.

In 2016, the City won a Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Silver Excellence Award in the Composting category for the Disco Road Facility.

The facility is located at 120 Disco Road. In addition to an organics processing facility, the site also includes a transfer station, outdoor areas for yard waste composting and a drop-off depot for Household Hazardous Waste and Electronic Waste.

Dufferin Organics Processing Facility

The Dufferin Organics Processing Facility is undergoing an expansion to increase its organics processing capacity from 25,000 tonnes a year to 55,000 tonnes a year. The expansion is scheduled to be complete in 2018 and includes the following enhancements:

  • Installation of a wastewater treatment system
  • Expansion of the odour control system
  • Increased building footprint to accommodate a larger tipping floor and new processing equipment
  • Installation of a buffer tank
  • Addition of insulation and new exterior cladding
  • Larger spill-containment system
  • Relocation of leaf and yard material area.

Like the Disco Road Organics Processing Facility, the expanded Dufferin facility will also use anaerobic digestion, but a different pre-processing system. At Dufferin, the  organic material will be separated from the non-organic material using a press.

The City will be installing new equipment at the Dufferin facility in 2018 that will allow it to upgrade the biogas produced into renewable natural gas (RNG) and inject it into the natural gas grid. The RNG can then be used to fuel solid waste collection trucks.

The Dufferin facility is located at 35 and 75 Vanley Cr. and also includes a transfer station, outdoor areas for yard waste composting and a drop-off depot.

Green Lane Landfill is a state-of-the-art facility that provides safe, effective and environmentally sustainable disposal of Toronto’s garbage. Green Lane Landfill was first commissioned in 1978 as a small local landfill. The City of Toronto purchased Green Lane Landfill on April 2, 2007 to secure long-term waste disposal capacity and made a number of significant enhancements. Facility highlights include:

  • a hydraulic trap design with an underdrain leachate system and onsite Leachate Treatment Plant
  • a comprehensive stormwater management system
  • on-site gas flares to safely manage collected landfill gas.

The lifespan of Green Lane is dependent on the rate that residential waste is sent for disposal. The City’s Long Term Waste Management Strategy sets a goal of diverting 70 per cent of the waste generated in Toronto away from landfill by 2026 and prioritizes waste reduction, as the less waste produced, the less there is to manage.In 2017, the City won a Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Bronze Excellence Award in the Landfill Management category for the Green Lane facility.

The City of Toronto operates Green Lane Landfill in compliance with the current Environmental Compliance Approval issued by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP).

In order to remain compliant with the Certificate of Approval for the Site, Green Lane Landfill prepares and submits an Annual Report (2017) to the MECP.

The landfill is located outside city boundaries, about 200 kilometres from downtown Toronto.

The City sends all of its Blue Bin recycling to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) – a specialized plant that receives, separates and prepares recyclable materials for marketing to secondary processors that employ technologies to prepare the materials for use by manufacturers.

There are two different types of MRFs: Clean and Dirty. A Clean MRF accepts material that has already been separated from other contaminants like garbage and organic waste, while a Dirty MRF accepts non-separated materials and then uses both manual and automatic processes to separate out the recyclable material.

The City sends its recycling to a Clean MRF as it allows for more recycling to be diverted from landfill – typically a Dirty MRF can only recover between 5 and 45 per cent of the material it receives, with the remainder being sent to landfill. Clean MRFs are also more cost efficient than Dirty MRFs because they require less complex sorting processes.