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May 2, 2001
Grasscycling benefits the environment
Works and Emergency Services -- The City of Toronto does not collect grass
clippings either as garbage or as yard waste. The ban on collecting grass
clippings as garbage took effect April 1, 2001. The City stopped collecting
grass as yard waste in 1996 as a result of the Ontario Municipal Board's order
to not accept grass clippings at the City's Avondale Composting Facility
(located at the Keele Valley Landfill in York Region) due to odour problems.

Residents are asked to manage their grass clippings at home. Grasscycling --
leaving clippings on the lawn -- is key. Grasscycling reduces fertilizer need
by 30 per cent, returning nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium
back to the soil to build deep healthy roots. Composting clippings in a
backyard composter is another way to recycle extra grass clippings. The
clippings may also be used as mulch around the base of trees, shrubs and plants
to return moisture to the soil. Not having to rake and bag grass clippings
saves, on average, 30 minutes each mowing, in addition to the cost-saving of
not having to buy bags.

"Grass clippings are a resource, not a waste," explains Angelos Bacopoulos,
General Manager of Solid Waste Management Services. He adds, "The City's goal
is to reduce garbage going to landfill. Banning grass clippings from garbage
collection is a cost-effective way to divert a portion of the organic waste
from landfill. We estimate being able to divert 10,000 tonnes of grass
clippings from the garbage collection stream, increasing our diversion rate one
per cent closer to our 2003 target of 30 per cent."

The City will avoid approximately $550,000 annually in waste transfer and
disposal costs following closure of the Keele Valley Landfill in December 2002
as a result of grass clippings no longer being collected as waste. These are
costs that will not have to be incurred for the transfer and disposal of waste
to Michigan.

In cases where residents continue to put clippings out for garbage collection,
collection crews will leave any bags containing grass behind with a sticker
explaining the new policy. Information on the sticker is provided in a number
of different languages and includes a phone number for further information.
Residents or landscapers will continue to have the option of disposing
segregated loads of grass at city transfer stations at the regular garbage
disposal fee of $65 a tonne.

Additional resources:
Lawn Improvement Helpline: 416-397-LAWN (5296)
Web site:

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