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November 2003

Toronto Waste to Michigan to be Eliminated by 2010

Toronto, Canada— As Michigan lawmakers get set to advance a package of bills aimed at preventing Toronto’s solid waste from disposal in Michigan landfills, officials representing the City of Toronto told members of the Senate Committee on Environmental Affairs that waste amounts bound for Michigan would decline beginning this year and would be eliminated by 2010, according to a plan approved by Toronto City Council. The comprehensive plan — the Task Force 2010 Report — was enacted two years ago, setting aggressive waste reduction and diversion targets for the city: 30% by 2003; 60% by 2006 and 100% diversion from landfill by 2010.

The Toronto plan includes a combination of recycling, composting and technology that is regarded as the most aggressive in North America including:

•Recycling a wider range of materials through mandatory use of the Blue Box program (curbside recycling);

•Source separating organics (food, garden and wet paper waste, diapers) by all single family households in the GTA by 2006, as well as by multi-family households and apartment dwellers; and

•Implementing bag limits, mandatory recycling and variable rate pricing programs designed to spur recycling and composting.

•Reducing garbage collection service to once every two weeks to encourage recycling and composting; and

•Using new and emerging technologies to handle the residual waste stream (approximately 40 percent) after recycling and composting have been maximized.

Already, the program has been successful in achieving significant increases in recycling, removing household organics (food and garden waste) and increasing composting. Toronto is on track to exceed its 30% diversion target for 2003. By contrast, Michigan recycling rates barely approach 20 percent, according to estimates by the Michigan Recycling Partnership.

“To end our reliance on Michigan landfills as soon as possible, our commitment to Michigan is to do what needs to be done to handle waste in our own community,” said Geoff Rathbone, Director of Solid Waste Planning for the City of Toronto. “The current situation is not in the long term best interest of the residents of Toronto, and it is disconcerting to the people of Michigan.


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