Waste Disposal Tips

Often during the holiday season, we see a spike in household waste.

That’s why we all need to do our part to dispose of our waste in the right bin. The city is working to meet a waste diversion target of 70% – and knowing what goes where is key to achieving this goal.

Fortunately, the city’s easy-to-use Waste Wizard can help you sort your waste.

In addition, collection calendars are being delivered over the next few weeks. If you haven’t received your calendar by December 19, please contact 311.

You can also visit the city’s Garbage & Recycling webpage for more information and tips.

2015 Residential Waste Diversion Rates & Long Term Waste Management Strategy

The city has completed its Long Term Waste Management Strategy (LTWMS) – and it was unanimously supported at my Public Works meeting this June.

This Strategy is going to guide Toronto’s waste management plans for the next 30 to 50 years. A key part of the plan focuses on leveraging our existing, internationally renowned waste management programs to reduce waste and increase diversion.

The LTWMS recommits the city to a 70 percent waste diversion target – and we have a lot of work ahead to reach that goal. Last year, our overall residential waste diversion rate was 52% – that actually brings us back down to our 2012 rate.

In light of the recently passed Waste-Free Ontario Act, I believe Toronto should strive to do even better – let’s make our city the first “Zero Waste” municipality in the Province of Ontario!

To get Toronto on the zero waste path, I moved a motion at the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee meeting directing staff develop a detailed plan and schedule to reach a target of zero organics found the garbage. Almost 40 percent of the 500,000 tonnes of residential garbage sent to landfill by the City of Toronto every year is organic material that should be put in the green bin.

I also directed staff to develop a plan to get green bins and recycling into all buildings, including apartment buildings. In 2015, multi-unit residential buildings had a waste diversion rate of 27 percent, compared to 65 percent in single family homes – that’s why we need to prioritize improving waste diversion in this sector.

These motions are great steps forward in moving the city towards zero waste.

Click here to read my motions.

You can also read the full, 100-page Long Term Waste Management Strategy here.

The City’s Long Term Waste Management Strategy

City staff are in the midst of developing a Long Term Waste Management Strategy that will help define Toronto’s waste management plans for the next thirty years.

The city is casting its net widely to consider the newest methods of waste management and disposal.

An update on the Long Term Waste Management Strategy came before the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on September 22, 2015. You can read the report here. The final report is expected in Spring 2016.

Click here for the latest news on the Long Term Waste Management Strategy.

Top Tips for Summer

Yard Waste

From mid-March to December, leaf and yard waste is collected every other week on your scheduled garbage day. City staff advise that you should wait until the evening before your collection date to put your waste on the curb.

The city collects plant and tree trimmings, weeds, brush and bundles of branches, but does not collect soil, sod, grass clippings, logs or tree stumps. Instead, compost grass clippings or reuse them on your lawn – an easy way to maintain nutrient-rich soil!

Toronto Water


  • Disconnect your downspout and use rainwater to water your grass and gardens.

  • Extra watering is not always required – the rain is often enough.

  • Sweep sidewalks and driveways clean instead of using a hose.

  • Start planning your water-efficient, natural garden using native plants and trees.

Environment and Water Efficiency

  • Use commercial car wash facilities to wash your car – they are required to follow a set of practices determined by the city, including treating wastewater and discharging it into the sanitary sewer system where it will receive further treatment.

  • A leaky toilet or tap can cost an extra $600/month – fix leaks to avoid being charged.

  • It costs only $0.002 to fill a reusable water bottle.

  • Pool water may contain chemicals. Click here for pool drainage tips and advice.

  • The city doesn’t conduct door-to-door water tests – be careful of sales people making that claim.

For more information on how you can be more water efficient, please click here.

Waste Diversion News

As the Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, I’m pleased to share that we’ve made significant progress on diverting waste from landfills!

As of June 1st, Solid Waste Management will accept “stretchy” plastic products. These include:

  • Milk bags
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • Newspaper/flyer bags
  • Produce and vegetable bags

With this change, staff anticipate that 3,500 tonnes of waste will be diverted from landfills. This puts us even closer to achieving a 70% total diversion rate!

For a complete list of items that you can recycle in your blue bin, click here.

Waste Disposal Tips – What Goes Where?

Recycling (Blue Bins)
Many of the products we consume come in packaging that can be recycled rather than sent to landfills! These include beverage and food containers, home and personal product containers, takeout food containers, retail shopping bags and paper.

Organics (Green Bins)
The benefit of properly disposing organic waste is that it can be reused as compost down the line! This includes food waste, coffee grinds, and animal waste.

Garbage (Black/Grey Bins or Yellow Bags)
Many of the items we dispose of can be reused or recycled as noted above. If, however, items must make their way to the landfill, it’s important to know what’s accepted and what’s not.

Household Hazardous Waste
Batteries, cleaning products and paint are all examples of waste that should be disposed of responsibly. The city offers a free service called Toxic Taxi, which allows residents to request a free pick-up of hazardous waste. For a complete list of what counts as hazardous waste and for drop-off depot locations, please visit this link.

Electronic Waste
As technology improves, we are constantly turning over devices and electronics. Including everything from cell phones to fax machines, e-waste can be part of your curbside collection. For more information on what it includes and how to set it out, please visit this link.

Don’t forget to think of others when considering the disposal of items in your home! The City’sReUseIt program offers information on how to donate unwanted items to not-for-profit agencies.

If you have any questions about what can or cannot be disposed of, you can also contact 311 – they would be happy to help!