Solid Waste Reports & Diversion Rates
|Blue Bin (recycling) Program||86,163||112,542||117,240||127,952||141,206|
|Yard Waste/Christmas trees||92,070||81,502||79,579||91,164||96,068|
|Green Bin (organics)||134,376||124,907||112,676||105,756||106,040|
|Environment Days/Depots/Reuse Centres||3,382||2,019||1,459||816||1,681|
|Large Appliances/Scrap Metal||4,595||4,420||4,894||4,718||3,826|
|Household Hazardous Waste||1,803||2,072||1,950||2,336||1,844|
|Deposit Return & Stewardship Program||15,308||15,179||15,051||14,902||14,779|
|Diversion in Tonnes||392,730||395,907||385,622||405,393||423,817|
|Diversion & Garbage||757,046||751,743||740,815||775,261||804,369|
- Fall 2012 – Mixed rigid plastics added
- June 2015 – More types of soft plastic film added
Toronto has one of the most comprehensive waste programs in North America. In 2018, a total of 392,729 tonnes of residential waste was diverted from landfill through the following programs:
- Blue Bin recycling
- Green Bin organics
- Yard waste and Christmas trees
- Backyard composting
- Community Environment Days
- Household hazardous waste
- Large appliance/scrap metal
- Electronic waste pickup.
The combined residential diversion rate for single-family homes and multi-residential buildings (with nine or more units) was 52 per cent.
This breaks down into a:
- 66 per cent diversion rate for residents living in single-family homes
- 24 per cent diversion rate for residents living in multi-residential buildings.
Toronto’s combined residential diversion rate is down one per cent from 2017, which can be attributed to a number of different factors.
Factors Impacting Diversion Rates
The changing nature of packaging and changing behaviour of consumers have both impacted diversion rates over the past few years. As diversion rates are weight-based, the trends of lighter plastic packaging replacing heavier packaging materials like glass, and manufacturers using less plastic to package their products (e.g. concentrated laundry detergent in smaller plastic jugs), have both impacted the amount of recycling tonnes diverted. Changing lifestyle trends, such as a decrease in print media (magazines and newspapers) and rise in take-out foods or ready-to-eat meals, have also had an impact.
Additionally, international import bans and restrictions have impacted the recycling supply chain globally and created a demand for higher quality recyclables and less contamination within recycling materials. In 2018, this resulted in recyclables, primarily from multi-residential buildings, being rejected from the material recovery facility and sent to landfill because they were too contaminated to process through the facility and would not have been accepted by markets.
Additional Metrics to Better Measure Overall Success
As weight-based diversion rates do not accurately reflect the overall picture of waste management success, the City has developed additional metrics to better measure performance. These additional metrics were recommended by the Long Term Waste Management Strategy and include:
- generation rate by household
- disposal rate by household
- total tonnes managed
- food waste reduction (organics diverted from landfill)
- greenhouse gas avoidance from tonnes diverted from landfill.
The Long Term Waste Management Strategy Annual Report, which will be posted mid-year, will use 2016 as a baseline to measure 2017 and 2018 performance using these metrics.
Residential Waste Diversion – 2018
|Program||Garbage Collected (tonnes)||Waste Diverted (tonnes)||Diversion Rate|
|Single Family Residential||170,595||330,443||66%|
Diversion Summary – 2018
|Blue Bin Program||86,163|
|Yard Waste/Christmas trees||92,070|
|Green Bin (Organics)||134,376|
|Environment Days/Depots/Reuse Centre||3,382|
|Large Appliances/Scrap Metal||4,595|
|Household Hazardous Waste||1,803|
|Deposit Return and Stewardship Program||15,308|
|Diversion in Tonnes||392,730|
|Diversion and Garbage||757,046|
In November 2018, Solid Waste Management Services, in partnership with Civic Hall Toronto, hosted a human-centred Design Sprint to get insights into the problem of contamination in recycling, which is costing the City millions of dollars annually.
The main objectives of the event were to:
- Better understand the challenges around recycling, from a resident perspective
- Gather ideas around how to address these challenges
- Generate insights on how design can improve the Blue Bin recycling program to reduce contamination.
The Blue Bin Design Sprint-Final Report provides analysis based on the comments of participants who came to the Design Sprint event and how they navigate and experience the Toronto Blue Bin recycling system on a day-to-day basis.
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
The next posting of OTPs are estimates only and can change anytime. Future vendors are advised to check the PMMD website regularly.
|Material||Current Contract Ends||Next Posting of Offer to Purchase|
|Aluminum Cans||October 31, 2019||Posted|
|Aluminum Foil||June 30, 2020||To be determined|
|Aseptic/Polycoat Containers||February 29, 2020||Early December 2019|
|Bulky Mixed Plastics||June 5, 2020||To be determined|
|Ceramics||December 31, 2019||Late September 2019|
|Drywall||April 30, 2020||To be determined|
|Foam Polystyrene||No bids||To be determined|
|HDPE Bottles||January 9, 2020||Early October, 2019|
|Mattresses||January 23, 2022||To be determined|
|Mixed Broken Glass||December 31, 2019||Mid October 2019|
|Mixed Rigid Plastics||September 15, 2020||To be determined|
|OCC Night Loads||March 14, 2021||To be determined|
|ONP, OCC and Mixed Paper||April 30, 2020||To be determined|
|PET Bottles||May 15, 2020||To be determined|
|Film Plastic||August 31, 2020||To be determined|
|Steel Cans||May 31, 2020||To be determined|
|White Goods & Scrap Metal||July 11, 2020||To be determined|