With a new waste management strategy in place, Toronto will divert the majority of its waste from landfills and eventually become a zero-waste city.

The Challenge

By sending 50% of its residential waste to the city's landfill, Toronto is looking at a full landfill by 2029. The new waste management strategy will extend the landfill's life and help Toronto take its first steps towards a zero-waste future.

The Solution

Two years after its launch, Toronto's Long Term Waste Management Strategy's overall focus is to divert as much waste as possible from landfill. To do so, the strategy recommends waste reduction, reuse, recycling, recovery, and residual disposal policies and programs, also known as the “5Rs” that are environmentally sustainable, socially acceptable, and cost-effective. The strategy will assist Canada's most populous city in achieving a 70% residential diversion rate. By working with community partners and leveraging existing social infrastructure, Toronto aims to divert an additional 200,000 metric tons of waste from landfill by 2026. Toronto is also developing a pilot program to capture natural gas generated at the city's anaerobic digestion facility, which would reduce 100,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually. The strategy is included in Toronto's Climate Change Action Plan, and will assist the city in reaching its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in 2050.

Environmental Benefits – The strategy seeks an overall reduction in consumption of resources, leading to less landfill and associated pollution, and reduced carbon emissions via improved recycling rates and decreased methane releases.

Economic Benefits – Zero-waste goals support a local, circular economy. It is estimated that implementing the five Rs supports 10 times as many jobs as a simple disposal model.

About Cities100

Presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – Cities100 2017 showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in five sectors: Energy, Waste, Adaptation, Mitigation and Transportation.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments. You can access the full Cities100 2017 publication online here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
Key Impact
70% waste diversion from landfill by 2026
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