This month Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and twenty other cities around the world have pledged to halve the amount of waste they send to landfills and incineration. Cumulatively, by 2030, this will prevent disposing up to 87 million tons of waste.
The cities signed the C40’s Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration which signifies their commitment to reducing the amount of waste generated by each citizen by 15% and reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and incineration by 50%. Some of the other cities who pledged their commitment to this goal include Auckland, Catalonia, Copenhagen, Dubai, London, Milan, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, and Washington D.C.
Around the world, the accumulation of waste is increasing more quickly than any other environmental pollutant. Decomposing waste has a particularly negative effect on global warming and climate change because when food scraps and organic matter begin to degrade they turn into methane gas, which is a highly potent greenhouse gas that accounts for 25% of current global warming.
Better waste management plans which include reducing, reusing, recycling, and repurposing use less energy than it does to make new products out of raw materials while also limiting the generation of methane. Beyond helping the planet, these “green” programs can spur the creation of jobs, economic opportunities, and healthy social collaboration efforts.
One project in Toronto already underway that reflects this move towards zero waste is the TEA’s zero waste high-rise project. A mix of co-op and condominium high-rise buildings in the areas of Mimico, York Centre, Willowdale, Kennedy Park and Downtown Toronto, the buildings are equipped with organic waste collection receptacles and residents are educated about the benefits of it. This project was initiated because the average high-rise buildings in Toronto only recycle and compost at half the rate of single-family homes. The Six Project buildings intend to change that figure for the better.
An overall increase in demand for Toronto painters, window and door manufacturers, construction contractors and others who adhere to eco-friendly practices indicate that “green” initiatives are having an impact. As public awareness continues to spread regarding the various green options that are available to consumers and the many benefits that stem from them, the demand for green projects is likely to increase and flourish in Toronto and beyond.