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November 22, 2013
25-year-old Blue Bin Program sets sights on new heights
Twenty-five years ago, Toronto residents were introduced to something that would change their relationship with garbage forever: the City's first curbside recycling container, the Blue Bin.

Between the fall of 1988 and the spring of 1989, the six former municipalities introduced curbside collection to increase recycling and reduce the amount of garbage being sent to landfill. Today, 96 per cent of Toronto's 455,000 single-family homes participate in the Blue Bin Program. With the addition of the Green Bin organics collection program and new materials being regularly added to the list of recyclables, many houses now put out less garbage than ever before.

"In 25 years, recycling has made huge strides," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34 Don Valley East), Chair of the City's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. "Residents who live in houses have completely changed how they deal with waste. But now that the city is growing up, rather than out, we must focus on improved participation and diversion in apartments and condominiums."

The future success of the City's waste management programs now lies with the 55 per cent of residents who live in high-rise buildings. The Solid Waste Management Services Division has projected that the diversion rate for 2013 will be 67 per cent in single-family homes but only 27 per cent in apartments and condos, for an average combined rate of 53 per cent. Toronto's ultimate goal is 70 per cent waste diversion.

The City provides recycling service to approximately 4,500 multi-residential buildings. With more than 43,000 individual units under construction as of the end of 2012, more and more Toronto residents will be living in multi-residential dwellings.

To help improve participation in apartments and condos, Solid Waste Management has recently launched a new education campaign to communicate to residents about the importance of proper sorting, disposal and diversion. The campaign – displayed on the exterior of streetcars, buses, on subway posters, in newspapers and online – features the tag line "Get with the (recycling symbol) program." The campaign reminds residents that more than half of what should be recycled in apartments and condos is ending up in landfill.

"Condo and apartment residents must stop treating their recycling like garbage, and understand their responsibility and role in reducing, reusing and recycling," said Councillor Minnan-Wong.

"As we are committed to reaching an overall diversion rate of 57 per cent by the end of next year, it is critical to continue to educate residents, superintendents and management in multi-residential buildings about the importance of waste reduction, recycling and organics," added Jim Harnum, General Manager, Solid Waste Management Services.

More information about the City's waste reduction programs, and the campaign advertisements, are available at

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media Contact
Siobhan Ramsay
Senior Communications Co-ordinator, Strategic Communications



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