Environment

Get the new TOwaste App!

Find out what waste items go where, what waste to put out when and where to donate items or find City Drop-off Depots with the new TOwaste App.

Key features include:

The Waste Wizard search tool with information on how to properly dispose of over 2,000 items.

  • Collection schedules for daytime curbside customers.

  • The ability to set reminders for your collection day and opt-in for alerts about service changes.

  • Information about where to find donation locations or City Drop-off Depots.

The TOwaste App is free to download and available for iOS and Android devices. 

Download today!

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Renewable Natural Gas Facility

To further our goal of becoming a city with a circular economy, the City of Toronto's Solid Waste Management Services (SWMS) Division is teaming up with Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. to begin creating renewable gas from Green Bin waste.
 
As part of this initiative, new equipment will be installed at the Dufferin Solid Waste Management Facility later this year that will allow raw biogas – produced from Toronto's Green Bin Organics – to be made into renewable natural gas (RNG). This process uses a "closed-loop" approach, since the RNG will ultimately be used to power 132, or 90%, of the City's heavy duty collection vehicles!
 
The state-of-the-art Dufferin Solid Waste Management Facility is one of the only two locations in the City where organic material is broken down by using innovative pre-processing and anaerobic digestion technology. The biogas upgrading taking place at this facility is a cutting edge initiative that will play a major role in helping achieve the City's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and our carbon footprint.
 
As Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, I have worked hard over the course of this term to create and implement strategies that reduce waste and benefit the environment. RNG is proven as a way to make the natural gas system even greener. Collaborating with SWMS and Enbridge on the RNP project is a big step forward for the City's Long Term Waste Management Strategy and for future renewable gas projects.

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Binational Action on Protecting the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) is a binational coalition of 131 American and Canadian mayors working with a wide array of stakeholders to protect and restore the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
 
I am honoured to serve as the Mayor's designate to the GLSLCI. Their notable initiatives include efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, incorporate innovative technology in conservation strategies, and manage invasive species such as zebra mussels and Asian carp. Their work is critical, as the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River contain over 21% of the world's freshwater supply and provide drinking water for over 40 million people.
 
At the GLSLCI 2018 Conference in June, I represented the City of Toronto in discussions on extreme weather events, flooding, coastal resilience, and green infrastructure. As Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, I'm committed to supporting initiatives undertaken by the GLSLCI to advance the protection of our shared freshwater resources. At Committee, I recently moved to accelerate the rehabilitation of the Don River and Central Waterfront, a first step towards delisting Toronto as a polluted "Area of Concern" in the Great Lakes.
 
You can read more about my efforts to clean up the Don River, here. For more information about initiatives related to climate change, invasive species, and microplastics, check out the GLSLCI website, here.

 As the Mayor's designate to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI),  I met with municipal leaders from across North America at the Annual Conference in June, including (from left to right) Mayor Paul Dyster of Niagara Falls, NY, Mayor Bonnie Crombie of Mississauga, and GLSLCI President John Dickert, former Mayor of Racine, WI.

As the Mayor's designate to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI),  I met with municipal leaders from across North America at the Annual Conference in June, including (from left to right) Mayor Paul Dyster of Niagara Falls, NY, Mayor Bonnie Crombie of Mississauga, and GLSLCI President John Dickert, former Mayor of Racine, WI.

Tips to Save Water This Summer

In response to the recent heat wave, Toronto Water is reminding residents that there are steps they can take to conserve water and reduce their utility bill during summer, the season of highest water use.
 
Toronto Water customers can use the City of Toronto's online water use tool, MyWaterToronto, to better understand their water use and to learn about strategies to save water and money. MyWaterToronto can even be used to check for leaks, which tend to add up very quickly when water usage is high. According to Carlo Casale, Manager of Customer Care at Toronto Water, even a small 1.5-millimetre hole in a pipe can add more than $13 to your utility bill each day.
 
Customers who receive a utility bill can access the tool by visiting http://www.toronto.ca/mywatertoronto and entering their utility account information. The tool can be used to track water use by day, week, month or year.
 
In addition to fixing leaks, other ways to save water during the summer include:

  • Using rainwater to water your grass and gardens.
  • Planting native plants and trees, which are low maintenance and naturally drought-tolerant.
  • Sweeping sidewalks and driveways clean instead of using a running hose.
  • Using a rain gauge to keep track of rainfall – healthy lawns only need 2.5 centimetres of water once a week.
    • If you have an irrigation system, set your system to come on once or twice a week, or install rain sensors.
  • Watering lawns in the morning to reduce evaporation.
    • Laying mulch can also help retain moisture and insulate roots from heat stress.
  • Setting your lawn mower to cut 6 to 7.5 centimetres - mowing high helps to strengthen the roots and retain water and nutrients.
  • Keeping a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the tap to draw cold drinking water.

 For more water conservation tips, visit http://www.toronto.ca/water.

My Environment Day Wrap-Up

On May 5th, neighbours from all over Ward 25 joined me at the York Mills Collegiate Institute to donate and recycle their used materials. Ward 25 had one of the most well-attended Community Environment Days in the City of Toronto!
 
Thanks to the incredible engagement from residents at this year's event, there was an overwhelming amount of donations that went to help local schools and community organizations. The Toronto Salvation Army even had to bring in a second collection truck to accommodate all of the great donations they received!  
 
Countless electronics, household hazardous waste items and used pens were also brought to my Environment Day for safe disposal, making the City of Toronto more green and clean. In the interest of being green, free compost was in high demand at my event as families geared up for spring gardening.
 
I was pleased to have the opportunity to speak with many friends in the ward, as well as new neighbours, about both achievements and emerging issues in Ward 25. Thank you to all who stopped by my booth to say hello - without your contributions, donations and disposals, my Environment Day would not have been such a great success.
 
I also would like to thank the dedicated volunteers, organizations, and staff who attended. It was great to see so many City divisions involved in my Community Environment Day including Toronto WaterSolid Waste Management Services and 311. Community organizations such as Live Green TorontoToronto Hydro and the Salvation Army made major contributions to my Environment Day as well, both in terms of donation collections and providing information to residents about their organizations.
 
This is one my favourite events in Ward 25 and I am already looking forward to next year's Community Environment Day!

My Environment Day on May 5th - Save the Date!

My Environment Day will be held on Saturday, May 5 at York Mills Collegiate and is a great opportunity to clear out items found during your spring cleaning, such as used electronics and household hazardous waste.
 
You can bring everything from old computer equipment to compact and fluorescent light bulbs for disposal and recycling. You can also bring items for donation such as sporting goods, books and gently-used dishes. 
 
We will also be giving out one cubic meter of compost per household - for free! (Limited quantity available) 

Several groups are collaborating with the City on this program, including:

  • Toronto Water
  • Solid Waste Management Services
  • Live Green Toronto
  • 311 Toronto
  • Toronto Hydro
  • The Salvation Army
  • Artsjunktion

Slow Down Signs Available


"Slow Down" signs are an effective way to remind drivers to respect the speed limit - especially on local and residential streets. If you're interested in getting a sign for your lawn, you can pick one up at my Environment Day on Saturday, May 5th at York Mills Collegiate!

Quantity is limited - one sign per household will be given out on a first come, first serve basis. 

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RECYCLING RIGHT

Help curb contamination in Toronto's Blue Bin recycling program. 

Contamination in Toronto's Blue Bins has significantly increased in recent years. When Blue Bins are contaminated with too many non-recyclable items, the recyclable materials cannot be sorted adequately – resulting in recyclable items being sent to landfill. 
 
Contaminated recycling not only impacts our environment negatively by increasing the strain on our landfills, but it also costs the City millions annually. Just last year, more than 52,000 tonnes of non-recyclable material was incorrectly put in Blue Bins. In order to achieve our goal of a 70% waste diversion rate by 2026, we need to do better.
 
Solid Waste Management Services (SWMS) is using a progressive approach to reduce contamination. Blue Bins are being inspected prior to pick-up, with bins that are contaminated being tagged and left behind on collection day. Notices indicating why the bin was not collected are left with the contaminated garbage, requesting residents to remove the contamination before the next recycling collection day.
 
While it is still early in the program, the City has seen positive results in the reduction of contamination following the implementation of Blue Bin inspections.

Know before you throw!

Food and organic waste such as food scraps and containers with leftover food have been top Blue Bin contamination offenders. Old clothing and textiles also do not belong in the Blue Bin. Instead, donate or bring items to my Environment Day this summer! Another common mistake is recycling hot beverage cups in the blue bin, these are lined with plastic or wax that cannot be recycled. However, non-black plastic lids and paper sleeves should be placed in the Blue Bin.
 
You can help improve the City's waste diversion by learning which bins your waste goes into. Ask the Waste Wizard to find out where and how to properly dispose of any specific item.
 
The City of Toronto's Solid Waste Management Services 2018 calendar is packed with information and tips on how to reduce, reuse and dispose of your waste properly, and includes a "Put Waste in its Place" Poster to help you figure out what goes in the Blue Bin, Green Bin, Garbage Bin and more!

 Know before you throw!

Know before you throw!

Municipal Stewardship of the Great Lakes

In December, I was honoured to welcome mayors and municipal leaders from across Canada and the U.S. to Toronto for the mid-year meeting of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSCI). The GLSCI is a binational coalition of 131 mayors from Ontario, Quebec, and the eight American Great Lakes states who advocate for the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. The Great Lakes are a critical and irreplaceable resource, and I was inspired by the GLSCI's commitment to their continued protection.
 
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River contain approximately 20% of the world's freshwater supply and provide drinking water for over 40 million people. The impacts of the Lakes are so broad that it is necessary to collaborate across national and regional boundaries to ensure their protection. The GLSCI's notable initiatives include efforts to ban the production and distribution of products containing microbeads, mitigate the impacts of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, incorporate innovative technology in conservation strategies, and manage invasive species such as zebra mussels and Asian carp.
 
In Toronto, we are undertaking various initiatives of our own to protect the Great Lakes water system. For example, a 25-year, multibillion dollar infrastructure project is currently underway to reduce combined sewer overflow (CSO) in the Don River as a part of the City's Wet Weather Flow Master Plan. Most combined sewers were constructed as long as a century ago, and utilize one pipe to carry both sewage and stormwater. Usually this combined water is diverted to wastewater treatment plants, however, during periods of intense rainfall, the volume of water may exceed the system's capacity. In this circumstance, untreated sewage and garbage water will be deposited, untreated, into creeks, rivers, and Lake Ontario. This process can pollute our freshwater lakes with bacteria, pathogens, heavy metals, oils, pesticides, and nutrients which can cause undesired algae growth. The City is currently in Stage One of a five-stage program that aims to virtually eliminate CSO. This project serves as an example of how activities under the purview of individual municipalities can have a massive impact on a shared resource, the Great Lakes.

I am committed to advancing Toronto's legacy of leadership in freshwater conservation initiatives. In order to do so, we must continue to collaborate with municipalities across the continent through avenues such as the GLSCI. Stewardship of this invaluable freshwater resource is our collective responsibility.

 As Chair of Public Works, I was honoured to welcome mayors & local leaders from across the continent to discuss the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes.

As Chair of Public Works, I was honoured to welcome mayors & local leaders from across the continent to discuss the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes.

Protect your Pipes!

Be prepared!

Protect your pipes from freezing.

 

Frozen pipes can leave you without water or cause your pipes to burst, leading to expensive property damage. If your pipes are prone to freezing, you may wish to contact a plumber for advice. Here are some tips to help protect your home:

  • Know where to find your main water shut-off valve (in case your pipes burst).

  • Insulate pipes most prone to freezing, especially near outside walls and in crawl spaces, the attic and garage.

  • Seal air leaks in areas where pipes are located. Check around windows and doors, electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes.

  • Drain and shut the outdoor water supply as outdoor faucets are the first to freeze.

  • Keep areas that contain indoor pipes above 8°C, especially near the water meter.

  • In extreme cold weather, you can choose to run a pencil thin stream of water to keep water moving. However, you will be charged for the water used if you choose this step.

For more information, visit toronto.ca/frozenpipes.