Tag Archives: recycling
New fee system for multi-unit buildings may boost dismal 16% diversion rate
David Rider – Toronto Star
About 75,000 residents of apartment buildings and condos across Toronto have lost access to the city’s recycling program in the past two years.
The culprit, city staff admit, is a confusing fee system that offers only skimpy rewards for recycling more diligently. It has driven about 375 of Toronto’s 5,000 multi-unit buildings out of the city system and to private removal companies.
“The waste rate program was unfair, punitive and untransparent,” Brad Butt of the Greater Toronto Apartments Association told the public works committee Wednesday, before its members voted to recommend that council adopt a new fee system as soon as possible.
“We have a considerable challenge in apartments to encourage residents to actively support recycling and waste diversion programs,” Butt said. “While we have made some significant strides, the goal of 70% waste diversion is still far off.”
Diverting 70% of household waste from landfill by 2011 was a re-election promise of Mayor David Miller in the 2006 campaign.
Halfway through 2010, the overall diversion rate stands at 44% — 60% for single-family homes and just 16% for multi-unit buildings. The city started rolling out green-bin service to buildings last year, with about 10% now participating.
Private haulers, by provincial law, only have to provide basic blue-box service, without accepting the electronics, organics and other extras the city recycles.
To stem the defection, staff consulted building owners and came up with a system they like.
The current system forces a building owner to make a significant cut in garbage produced per unit before they get a cut in the fee to haul it away. The new system would immediately reward even a small decrease in nonrecyclable waste. (Buildings aren’t charged for recyclables collected.)
Also, the confusing rate structure would be replaced with a basic one modelled on contracts offered by private providers.
Geoff Rathbone, the city’s general manager of solid waste management services, said he expects the loss of revenue from reduced fees under the new system will be offset by some of the 375 buildings rejoining the city system.
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With Earth Hour just around the corner, now is a great time to think about how you can live more “green”.
Driving your car, using plastic bags or leaving on a few lights may seem minor, but even the smallest acts add up to make an impact on our climate. The main cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) to satisfy our hunger for energy.
Turn on the news and you’ll see that climate change has already contributed to severe droughts, floods and extreme weather around the globe. We must protect and sustain our environment to ensure we leave our children a living planet. Even minor changes have impacts that can be large and long-lasting.
WWF-Canada is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature to thrive. This means working with business, government and individuals to help them live lighter on the planet.
“We have the science, the technology, and the public will to solve this problem,” said Gerald Butts, president and CEO of WWF-Canada. “Nowhere else on Earth do so few people steward so many resources. We must preserve our planet for future generations by taking action now.”
From global events to things you can do on a daily basis, here are some ways you can help:
1. Drive Less. Instead of taking the car, why not walk, bike or take transit. Cars and trucks run on fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
2. Get involved. Make yourself seen and heard by participating in green initiatives like WWF’s Earth Hour. On Saturday March 27 from 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. (local time), join millions of people around the world and turn off your lights for one hour in support of action on climate change. Let your lights signal to business and government that you are taking action for the planet. You can find out more at www.EarthHourCanada.org.
3. Buy local and sustainable food. The average food product travels about 2,000 kilometres before it reaches your table. Along the way it burns up energy – creating greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change – as it’s packaged, shipped and stored. WWF-Canada has created Sustainable Food Buying Guides for regions across the country to help Canadians shop sustainably. The guides are free and available at http://wwf.ca/foodguide.
4. Recycle, reduce and reuse. Recycling saves a lot of energy needed to extract, process, transport and make new materials and products. Recycle 100% of your glass, aluminium, plastic, and paper and compost your organic waste.
5. Stay grounded. Airplanes are one of the biggest culprits for pumping carbon emissions high into the atmosphere. If you must fly, then purchase carbon offsets to reduce the impact of your flight. WWF recommends gold standard carbon offsets, such as Climate Friendly (http://climatefriendly.com).
You can learn more about how to take action to help fight climate change online at www.wwf.ca.