Residential Waste 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
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
Backyard composting 19,255 19,255 19,255 19,249 19,179
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
Electronics 861 1,003 993 1,065 937
Large Appliances/Scrap Metal 4,595 4,420 4,894 4,718 3,826
Grasscycling 15,192 13,448 13,131 18,233 19,214
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
Tires 19,725 19,560 19,394 19,202 19,043
Diversion in Tonnes 392,730 395,907 385,622 405,393 423,817
Garbage 364,316 355,836 355,193 369,868 380,552
Diversion & Garbage 757,046 751,743 740,815 775,261 804,369
Percentage Diversion 52% 53% 52% 52% 53%


  • 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
  • Grasscycling
  • 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.

Residential Waste Diversion – 2018

Program Garbage Collected (tonnes) Waste Diverted (tonnes) Diversion Rate
Single Family Residential 170,595 330,443 66%
Multi-Unit Residential 193,721 62,286 24%
Total Residential 364,316 392,730 52%

Diversion Summary – 2018

Program Tonnes
Blue Bin Program 86,163
Yard Waste/Christmas trees 92,070
Backyard Composting 19,255
Green Bin (Organics) 134,376
Environment Days/Depots/Reuse Centre 3,382
Large Appliances/Scrap Metal 4,595
Grasscycling 15,192
Household Hazardous Waste 1,803
Electronics 861
Deposit Return and Stewardship Program 15,308
Tires 19,725
Diversion in Tonnes 392,730
Garbage 364,316
Diversion and Garbage 757,046
Percentage Diversion 52%

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

Final Report

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