Find historical data on waste diversion and litter audit reports.

Residential Waste 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Blue Bin (recycling) Program 112,542 117,240 127,952 141,206 143,935
Yard Waste/Christmas trees 81,502 79,579 91,164 96,068 99,822
Backyard composting 19,255 19,255 19,249 19,179 19,120
Green Bin (organics) 124,907 112,676 105,756 106,040 111,848
Environment Days/Depots/Reuse Centres 2,019 1,459 816 1,681 3,610
Electronics 1,003 993 1,065 937 849
Large Appliances/Scrap Metal 4,420 4,894 4,718 3,826 3,290
Grasscycling 13,448 13,131 18,233 19,214 19,964
Household Hazardous Waste 2,072 1,950 2,336 1,844 1,622
Deposit Return & Stewardship Program 15,179 15,051 14,902 14,779 14,655
Tires 19,560 19,394 19,202 19,043 20,507
Diversion in Tonnes 395,907 385,622 405,393 423,817 439,222
Garbage 355,836 355,193 369,868 380,552 384,521
Diversion & Garbage 751,743 740,815 775,261 804,369 823,743
Percentage Diversion 53% 52% 52% 53% 53%


  • Fall 2012 – Mixed rigid plastics added
  • June 2015 – More types of soft plastic film added

In 2017, a total of 395,907 tonnes of residential waste was diverted from landfill through programs such as:

  • Blue Bin recycling
  • Green Bin organics
  • Yard waste and Christmas trees
  • Backyard composting
  • Community Environment Days
  • Household hazardous waste
  • Grasscycling
  • Large appliance/scrap metal
  • Electronic waste pickup.

The combined residential diversion rate of 53 per cent – which is one per cent higher than 2016 – represents the amount of diverted tonnes achieved by both single-family homes and multi-residential buildings (categorized as having nine or more units).

This breaks down into a:

  • 66 per cent diversion rate for residents living in single-family homes
  • 28 per cent for residents living in multi-residential buildings.

The improvement in the diversion rate is the result of an increase in the amount of Green Bin organics collected. This increase could be due to the new larger Green Bins that were provided to all single-family households as well as the continued and growing use of the Green Bin organics program in multi-residential buildings.

Moving towards a Zero Waste future and Circular Economy

The City of Toronto’s Long Term Waste Management Strategy (Waste Strategy) includes recommendations that encourage both the prevention of waste and the maximization of its value before disposal. It also includes an aspirational goal to work towards a zero waste future and a circular economy.

In 2017, several initiatives were implemented under the Waste Strategy, including the new Waste Reduction Community Grants program that supports innovative community-led actions that reduce residential waste and increase participation in the City’s waste diversion programs.

Work was also started on implementing five new Neighbourhood Reduce and Reuse projects in partnership with local community agencies. These include Urban Harvest (redistribution of surplus food), Sewing Workshops (textile repair), Community Composting, Bike Repair, and Sharing Libraries.

A new Unit for Research Innovation and a Circular Economy was established to develop a framework to make Toronto the first city in the Province with a circular economy. A circular economy moves away from the current waste system of “take, make and dispose” and shifts our thinking to consider how the City can provide services that:

  • reduce reliance on non-renewable resources
  • minimize greenhouse gas emissions
  • optimize resource lifecycles
  • reduce waste or inefficiencies through research, innovation and collaboration.

The Waste Strategy also recommends new metrics that reflect the success of today’s integrated waste management system. Weight-based performance measures, for example, only provide part of the overall picture and also no longer accurately reflect diversion success due to the changing nature of packaging, which has become lighter in recent years.

To measure the performance of the integrated waste management system, the City will start to report on new performance metrics, including:

  • reduction in the amount of waste generated per household
  • reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
  • measuring reuse and overall reduction of waste disposed to landfill.

Together, these new performance measures will help the City better assess its progress in moving toward its aspirational zero waste and  circular economy goals.

Residential Waste Diversion – 2017

Program Garbage Collected (tonnes) Waste Diverted (tonnes) Diversion Rate
Single Family Residential 169,745 323,518 66%
Multi-Unit Residential 186,091 72,389 28%
Total Residential 355,836 395,907 53%

Diversion Summary – 2017

Program Tonnes
Blue Bin Program 112,542
Yard Waste/Christmas trees 81,502
Backyard Composting 19,255
Green Bin (Organics) 124,907
Environment Days/Depots/Reuse Centre 2,019
Large Appliances/Scrap Metal 4,420
Grasscycling 13,448
Household Hazardous Waste 2,072
Electronics 1,003
Deposit Return and Stewardship Program 15,179
Tires 19,560
Diversion in Tonnes 395,907
Garbage 355,836
Diversion and Garbage 751,743
Percentage Diversion 53%

In September 2016, the City of Toronto contracted AET Group Inc. (AET) to conduct a city-wide litter audit to assess the composition and amount of litter on City streets. Both large (four square inches or more) and small (less than four square inches) pieces of litter were studied within the 300 sites previously established in past city-wide litter audits. The methodology used was consistent with past years and again the type, brand and size of the litter was recorded.

2016 Audit Results

  • Total number of large litter items increased slightly (approx. 14 per cent) from 2014, but compared to results from 2002 litter audit done, the average amount of large litter decreased by approx. 49 per cent.
  • Non-branded paper towels/napkins was most commonly found large litter item (same as in 2014 audit).
  • Total number of small litter items increased slightly (approx. 15 per cent) from 2014.
  • As seen in past litter audits, most commonly found small litter is gum (approx. 25 per cent of all small litter audited), followed by cigarette butts (approx. 22 per cent).

Details, including information on the measurement of branded litter, is provided in the full report “2016 Toronto Litter Audit.”

In 2014, the City of Toronto engaged an independent consultant (Ernst & Young LLP) to review Solid Waste Management Services current collection and operational practices, to identify potential areas for improvement and provide recommendations in a final report for additional safeguards to public safety.

Ernst & Young reviewed four business practice areas to enhance public safety:

  • Waste collection operations provided by City staff and contracted staff
  • Routing of collection vehicles and equipment
  • Operator training
  • Vehicles and equipment design

Final Report

Material Current Contract Ends Next Posting of Offer to Purchase
Aluminum Cans April 30, 2019 Late January 2019
Aluminum Foil Jun 30, 2018 Early April 2019
Aseptic/Polycoat Containers Aug 31, 2019 Mid June, 2019
Bulky Mixed Plastics May 31, 2019 Early March 2019
Ceramics Dec 31, 2017 Late September 2017
Drywall May 7, 2019 To be determined
Foam Polystyrene Jan 31, 2019 To be determined
HDPE Bins May 31, 208 Now part of Bulky Mixed Plastics
HDPE Bottles January 9, 2020 Early October, 2019
Mattresses To be determined
Mixed Broken Glass  Dec 31, 2018 Mid October 2018
Mixed Rigid Plastics Sep 15, 2020 Mid May 2020
OCC Night Loads Sep 14, 2019 Late June 2019
ONP, OCC and Mixed Paper April 30, 2020 To be determined
PET Bottles Sep 15, 2019 Late June 2019
Film Plastic Aug 31, 2019 Early June 2019
Steel Cans May 31, 2019 Early March 2019
White Goods & Scrap Metal Jul 11, 2019 Late April 2019