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September 12, 2012
Toronto adding new plastic items to its Blue Bin Program
  
The City of Toronto's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee received a report today from Solid Waste Management Services that will result in Toronto introducing the collection of mixed rigid plastics this fall through the City's Blue Bin program. The new items include clamshell containers, clear fruit and vegetable containers, clear takeout containers and molded bakery-item trays.

Until recently, the City could not recycle mixed rigid plastics. New developments spearheaded by the Canadian grocery retail industry, along with advancements in recycling and sorting technology, have removed the obstacles to recycling these plastic materials.

Solid Waste Management undertook a year-long pilot project at the Dufferin Material Recovery Facility (MRF), which currently handles about half of the City's recycling. The project confirmed that the facility now has the capability to sort the new plastics and meet the specifications to market the materials. In May 2013, when the City's new processing contractor, Canada Fibers Ltd., begins operating its new material recovery facility, all of Toronto's recyclables will be processed in state-of-the-art sorting facilities that can sort and prepare these new, mixed rigid-plastic items for end-use markets.

"This is good news for Toronto. Accepting this range of items in recycling will mean fewer materials going into the garbage and ending up in landfill," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34 Don Valley East), Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.

Solid Waste estimates the cost to collect and recycle the new plastic materials will be approximately $160,000 in 2013. The inclusion of mixed rigid plastics will result in the diversion of 2,000 tonnes annually from landfill. The recycled plastics will be manufactured into products for industrial and household end uses.

"We are excited about this next step in our recycling capability," said Jim Harnum, General Manager of Toronto's Solid Waste Management Services division. "So many foods and products that we use every day are packaged in this type of plastic. Residents can now feel good about putting these items in the Blue Bin instead of the garbage."

Residents should continue to perform current set out and recycling practices, such as emptying and rinsing food containers to remove residue. They can check Waste Wizard, the City's online search tool, if they have questions about particular items. If residents need more room to accommodate these new recyclables, they can call 311 to upsize their current Blue Bin or order an extra Blue Bin free of charge.

A group of students from Jackman Public School in Toronto attended the committee meeting today and were recognized for their avid interest in Toronto's recycling program. The students wrote to the City earlier this year inquiring about when clear clamshell containers could be recycled in Toronto.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 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.


Backgrounder - City of Toronto Blue Bin Recycling Program

Toronto will begin collecting mixed rigid plastics this fall through the City's Blue Bin program.

History
• Toronto's Blue Bin (formerly Blue Box) Recycling Program was launched in 1988/1989.
• The first materials to be recycled were glass bottles, jars, metal cans and newspapers.
• Throughout the years, other products were added, such as magazines, telephone books, catalogues, pizza boxes, plastic food jars, tubs and lids.
• The last addition of items to the Blue Bin took place in 2008, when plastic grocery and retail shopping bags and foam polystyrene packaging were added.
• Currently, 96 per cent of single-family households participate in the Blue Bin program.

New plastics added to the Blue Bin - September 2012
Most food-related containers and packaging, and some common household items, such as:
• Clamshell containers (hinged, clear plastic containers used for food items such as berries and takeout)
• Clear fruit and vegetable containers
• Clear takeout food containers
• Molded bakery item trays
• Plastic plates and glasses
• Egg cartons
• Cold beverage cups/lids
• Compact disk cases (empty)

Plastic items that cannot go in the Blue Bin
• Takeout containers with black bottoms or tops (such as used for roasted chicken)
• Toys
• Blister packs
• Cassettes, CDs and DVDs
• Plastic over-wrap on pop/water cartons, toilet paper, paper towels

Proper setout
Residents should continue to practise basic set out and recycling instructions.
• Items should be emptied and rinsed to remove residue.
• Recycling should be put inside the Blue Bin loose and with the lid closed.
• If a resident regularly has overflow recycling, the resident may upsize their current Blue Bin or order an extra Blue Bin free of charge.

Questions
Check Waste Wizard, Solid Waste's online search tool at http://www.toronto.ca/recycle
or call 311 if you have questions about what is accepted in the Blue Bin.

Media Contact
Siobhan Ramsay
Senior Communications Coordinator
416-397-5001
sramsay@toronto.ca

 

 

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