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October 26, 2005
Mayor David Miller helps take Green Bin Program city-wide
Toronto's innovative Green Bin initiative went city-wide yesterday, as 124,000
single-family households in North York joined the largest, most progressive
waste diversion program in North America.

North York households have joined the rest of the city in receiving weekly
curbside collection of organic materials such as food waste and soiled paper
products. This program, along with the City's recycling and yard waste
composting programs, allows participants to divert more than half of their
waste from landfill.

"Toronto is a North American leader in recycling and composting programs," said
Mayor David Miller. "The Green Bin Program demonstrates Torontonians'
commitment to reducing the waste they send to landfill. This gives me optimism
as we look to new means of reducing and diverting Toronto's waste."

Green bin organics comprise 30 per cent of household waste making this program
an integral component of the City's effort to achieve a diversion rate of 60
per cent by 2008.

"Our citizens have a long proud history of environmental commitment.
Approximately 95 per cent of eligible households participate in the Green Bin
Program," said City Councillor and Works Committee Chair Shelley Carroll.

With the addition of North York, some 510,000 single-family households are now
separating organics from other waste. The City is also conducting pilot
projects in 30 multi-unit buildings to expand the program further.

More details on the Green Bin Program, including information in multiple
languages, is available at

Green Bin Organics Program fast facts

The City of Toronto is now in its final phase of implementing the Green Bin
Program city-wide. The program was initiated in Etobicoke in September 2002,
Scarborough began in June 2003 and Toronto, East York and York joined in
September 2004. On October 25, 2005, 124,000 single family homes in the North
York community came on board, bringing the total to 510,000 single family
households. Pilots are underway in 30 multi-unit buildings to test the
feasibility of collecting organics from multi-unit complexes.

  • The Green Bin Program supports the City of Toronto in its effort to
    achieve a diversion rate of 60 per cent by 2008.
  • The Green Bin Program reduces waste from landfill by diverting organic
    material from garbage and turning it into compost.
  • Green bin organics make up over 30 per cent of household garbage.
  • Closing Toronto’s Keele Valley landfill in December 2002 increased
    disposal costs by more than 300 per cent now that waste is trucked to a private
    Michigan landfill.
  • It is expected, with the Green Bin program implemented city-wide to
    single-family homes, 110,000 tonnes of waste will be diverted annually from
    landfill (resulting in 3,225 fewer trucks to Michigan).
  • Approximately 95 per cent of all eligible Etobicoke, Scarborough,
    Toronto, East York and York households participate in the program. Households
    receiving curbside collection are eligible to participate.
  • Prior to the launch of the program in North York, 124,000 homes received
    a small kitchen container, a larger green curbside bin, an information card and
    a newsletter. Information is available in multiple languages. General program
    information is available at
  • North York, Toronto, East York and Scarborough organics collection is
    done by City staff – by members of C.U.P.E. Local 416 (York and Etobicoke have
    privatized collection).
  • Green bin collection is weekly. Recycling is collected every second week.
    Yard waste collection is either weekly or bi-weekly depending on the season.
    Leftover non recyclable/non compostable garbage (e.g. old running shoes,
    furnace filters, light bulbs, etc.) is picked up every two weeks.
  • Collection trucks have two separate compartments – while it may look like
    all materials are going in the same place, organics are placed in a separate
    compartment from the garbage or recyclables. One week a truck collects garbage
    and organics and the next week recyclables and organics. This results in fewer
    trucks going up and down neighbourhood streets. Yard waste is collected in a
    different truck.
  • Extra green bins cost $18 and an additional kitchen container is $5 –
    both are available at local Home Hardware stores and at certain City Works
  • The City uses five facilities to process the green bin organic material.
    Operators inspect the organics and remove large, unwanted items. The organic
    material is then converted into clean, rich compost.
  • Finished compost can be sold in bags or in bulk for use in landscaping,
    agriculture, soil erosion control and to improve soil quality.

What to put in the green bin

Into the green bin

  • Fruits, vegetable scraps
  • Meat, shellfish, fish products
  • Pasta, bread, cereal
  • Dairy products, egg shells
  • Coffee grounds, filters, tea bags
  • Soiled paper towels, tissues
  • Soiled paper food packaging – fast food paper packaging, ice cream boxes,
    muffin paper, flour and sugar bags
  • Paper coffee cups (no lids), paper plates
  • Candies, cookies, cake
  • Baking ingredients, herbs, spices
  • House plants, including soil
  • Diapers, sanitary products
  • Animal waste, bedding (e.g. from bird/hamster cages), kitty litter
  • Pet food

Not into the green bin

These items do not break down and, therefore, cannot be turned into compost.

  • Plastic wrap, baggies, sandwich bags
  • Styrofoam, meat tray liners
  • Plastic items such as food containers (e.g. yogurt or margarine tubs),
  • Wax paper
  • Plastic milk bags
  • Cigarette butts, tobacco
  • Foil
  • Gum
  • Leather, textiles, clothing
  • Baby wipes
  • Corks (from wine bottles, etc.)
  • Dryer lint, dryer sheets
  • Cotton swabs/balls
  • Hair, pet fur, feathers
  • Disposable mop sheets
  • Wood products, wood chips
  • Vacuum cleaner bags and contents
  • All recyclable items
  • Fireplace or BBQ ashes
  • Candles

For further information, visit the City’s Web site at

Media contacts:

Councillor Shelley Carroll
Works Committee Chair

Geoff Rathbone
Acting General Manager
Solid Waste Management Services



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