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May 17, 2017
Backgrounder - Mayor's Towering Challenge
  
Backgrounder - Mayor's Towering Challenge

Background
• The Mayor's Towering Challenge was launched on June 30, 2016.
• All apartments, condos and co-ops with nine or more units were eligible to join the challenge, including those that do not receive waste, recycling and organics collection by the City of Toronto.
• A total of 143 buildings were officially registered.
• The challenge period was September 1, 2016 to March 3, 2017.
• Over the course of the challenge, registered participants received resources and support from Solid Waste Management Services and were invited to attend a variety of events. They were also encouraged to host events at their buildings.
• Buildings used existing waste reduction programs/practices such as recycling, organics collection and the proper disposal of electronics and household hazardous waste, and implemented other diversion initiatives that worked best for their own properties and their residents.
• Written submissions were due March 10 and were required to provide answers in five sections: identifying challenge(s); finding methods to reduce waste; resident involvement; reuse/ reduction and results; and looking forward.
• An independent judging committee reviewed and scored the submissions based on criteria provided by Solid Waste Management Services.
• The winning buildings were selected on April 13.

Overall winner
Omni Forest Mansions is a group of properties made up of three buildings and two townhouse complexes. Omni implemented a number of initiatives that demonstrated its ability to overcome challenges, educating and engaging residents and the buildings' staff, and introducing new waste-reduction programs. Initiatives included:
• adding a collection program for batteries, CFL bulbs, aerosol and paint cans to ensure proper disposal
• promoting donation and reuse through swaps, clothing and reusable household item donation and a garage sale
• having an engaged 3Rs ambassador (volunteer) and enhancing communication between the property manager and the 3Rs ambassador
• running a "repair café"
• ordering free recycling bags for residents from the City, and
• using funds raised through refurbishing electronics and other fundraisers to pay for recycling outreach, a children's party, staff events and coffee nights.

Best leadership
Winners in the Best Leadership category demonstrated what can be achieved through thinking "outside the box" (or building) and leading by example when it comes to educating residents about the importance of waste diversion and the impact it has on the environment.

Winner: 20 Prince Arthur Ave.
Honourable mention: Harbourside – 55 Harbour Sq.

Initiatives implemented by these buildings included:
• developing a formal waste-diversion policy and including it in a welcome package for new residents
• establishing partnerships with eco-friendly organizations for residents to receive discounts (such as car sharing, cleaning companies, rentable plastic moving bins) and promoting their use as an overall environmental benefit
• understanding the needs of residents and providing additional recycling and organics bins
• implementing best practices at all buildings under the same management, not just those entered in the challenge, and
• encouraging friendly competition between two buildings to start a conversation among residents about waste reduction.

Best resident engagement initiative
The winning buildings in this category demonstrated initiative with the types of waste-reduction programs they implemented, as well as recognizing the importance of engaging residents through neighbour-to-neighbour communication.

Winner: Hugh Garner Housing Co-operative
Honourable mention: Ahmadiyya Abode of Peace

Initiatives implemented by these buildings included:
• neighbours offered assistance to older residents who needed help taking items out for disposal
• using the opportunity of regular tenant meetings to convey the message about waste reduction and proper disposal
• implementing a contest and awarding prizes to residents for properly disposing of their organic waste
• involving children to help educate and motivate their parents
• engaging residents to teach other residents how to reuse and repair items, and
• engaging floor representatives to go door to door to deliver information about waste diversion.

Best initiative using data
The winning buildings in this category relied on solid facts and figures to achieve results and improve residents' waste-disposal habits.

Winner: Capreit – 5 and 15 Tangreen Cres.
Honourable mention: Symphony Place – MTCC945

Initiatives implemented by these buildings included:
• giving out a "Resident Waste Log Sheet" to track waste and recycling for two weeks
• conducting a waste audit using a third-party waste management consultant
• inscribing the unit numbers on delivery boxes and parcels to track incorrect disposal back to the resident
• providing tracking sheets for staff to help monitor the use of the organic bins on each floor and to pinpoint the worst performing floors
• analyzing the information from the worst performing floors and sending personalized written communication to non-compliant residents from the property manager, and
• providing to the concierge a list of units doing renovations before the start of work and informing the residents and the contractors about proper disposal of materials.

Best reduce and reuse initiative
The winning buildings in this category implemented a number of programs to encourage waste reduction and reuse instead of disposal.

Winner: 18 Sommerset – MTCC 1273
Honourable mention: 7 and 21 Richgrove Dr.

Initiatives implemented by these buildings included:
• putting a Green Bin in the party room and replacing disposal cutlery and dishes at board meetings with washable dishes
• using a resident handbook, tenancy agreement and resident code of conduct to communicate what residents need to do for proper waste disposal
•implementing a 3Rs Awareness month to celebrate the hard work of residents and their 3Rs committee
• floor-by-floor education and monitoring to help educate residents about how to properly use the disposal room
• consulting and sharing ideas with other buildings in the community about best practices to increase waste diversion and reduce waste
• arranging for contractors to pick up items for repair or reuse and sending material for donation or resale (such as furniture, windows, doors), and
• providing recycling bags to residents.

Most innovative
The winning buildings in the Most Innovative category recognized the unique and varied needs of their residents and tailored their programs and waste diversion efforts to maximize results.

Most Innovative: Millgate Manor Condominiums
Honourable mention: The Monet – TSCC 1642

Initiatives implemented by these buildings included:
• recognizing the diversity of the residents and adapting to meet their needs, such as providing information in different languages
• adapting bins to make them easier to open for senior or physically challenged residents
• redesigning access to the recycling and organics bins to minimize how long residents would have be outside to dispose of their materials
• using electronic bulletin boards to display a waste tip of the week, and
• conducting a resident survey to determine awareness and areas for improvement.

Winners of the Mayor's Towering Challenge received a signed certificate from Mayor Tory and two memberships to the Sharing Depot. The Sharing Depot is a community hub where members can borrow a wide range of items, including camping equipment, house-party supplies, board games, toys and sports equipment.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. In 2017, Toronto will honour Canada's 150th birthday with "TO Canada with Love," a year-long program of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/TorontoComms and on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/cityofto.

Media Contact
Keerthana Kamalavasan
Office of the Mayor
647-998-2615
keerthana.kamalavasan@toronto.ca

Siobhan Ramsay
Strategic Communications
416-397-5001
siobhan.ramsay@toronto.ca

 

 

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