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October 7, 2003
Toronto testifies to its waste diversion commitment at Michigan hearings
  
Works & Emergency Services - Solid waste planning officials from the City of
Toronto testified today in Michigan Legislative hearings on out-of-state waste
to assure U.S. lawmakers and residents that Toronto is working to solve its
long term waste management needs.

Michigan lawmakers are working towards advancing a package of bills aimed at
preventing Canadian waste from disposal in Michigan landfills, which would
include the City of Toronto's residual solid waste currently sent to the
Carlton Farms Landfill in Sumpter Township operated by Republic Services.
Angelos Bacopoulos, General Manager of Toronto's Solid Waste Management
Services division, and its Director of Policy and Planning, Geoff Rathbone,
told members of the Michigan Senate Committee on Environmental Affairs that the
amount of Toronto's waste bound for Michigan will start declining in 2004.
Solid waste shipments will be eliminated by 2010, according to a plan detailed
in the Task Force 2010 Report approved by Toronto City Council in 2001.

This comprehensive plan sets aggressive waste reduction and diversion targets
for the City - 30 per cent by 2003, 60 per cent by 2006 and 100 per cent
diversion from landfill by 2010. The plan outlines a combination of recycling,
composting and technology that is among the most progressive 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, etc.)
by all single-family households across Toronto by 2006, as well as by
multi-family households and apartment dwellers;
· 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 per cent) after recycling and composting is maximized.

Toronto is on track to exceed its 30 per cent diversion target for 2003, as a
result of achieving significant increases in recycling, removing household
organics (The Green Bin Program diverts food and garden waste) and increasing
composting. By contrast, Michigan recycling rates barely approach 20 per cent.

"We want to end our reliance on Michigan landfills as soon as possible. I am
determined to do everything possible to accelerate the reduction of shipped
waste. The City of Toronto wants a 'made-in-Toronto' solution," said
Councillor Jane Pitfield, Chair of Toronto's Works Committee. "We acknowledge
the current situation may be disconcerting to the people of Michigan, and I can
assure you, it's also not in the long term best interest of the residents of
Toronto either. The various programs we have in place now, as well as those to
come with Council's support and approval, will realize our diversion goals."

"The City of Toronto is working in collaboration with other Greater Toronto
Area (GTA) Regions to reduce our overall dependency on all landfill sites,
including those in Michigan," said York Region Chair and CEO Bill Fisch, who is
also Chair of a GTA Working Group studying waste alternatives. "Together, we
are aggressively reviewing new technologies for waste diversion to quickly
begin recycling and diverting more waste from landfills."

Media contacts:
Councillor Jane Pitfield
Works Committee Chair
416-392-0215

Angelos Bacopoulos
General Manager, Solid Waste Management Services
Works & Emergency Services
416-392-4715



 

 

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