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Torontonians No Longer Taking Garbage For Granted

Date July 27, 2009 Author Jason Smith Categories Media Releases

Torontonians No Longer Taking Garbage For Granted

Jul 27, 2009

TORONTO, July 27 – Seven weeks of growing garbage piles due to the City of Toronto civic strike seems to have had at least one positive outcome – it has reminded Canadians to think about the 3Rs before they consume. According to a recent survey conducted by on behalf of the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO), 68 per cent of Torontonians took measures to reduce their waste during the strike. The goal now that the strike has ended is to continue these practices.

“Now that the strike has been resolved, our hope is that all Torontonians and Ontarians continue to reduce the waste they produce – this may mean changing one simple thing we do every day,” said Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director of the Recycling Council of Ontario. “The strike has likely made people realize that their everyday choices do have an impact, but more importantly, that they have an opportunity to affect change.”

Toronto residents were clearly not aware of the amount of waste they produced prior to the strike. In fact, almost half (44 per cent) of City residents reported that they were surprised by the amount of garbage that built up in the city and in temporary garbage drop-off locations. 

“North Americans account for only eight per cent of the Earth’s population but produce 50 per cent of the world’s garbage, and the urban centres like Toronto are even more disproportionate,” added St. Godard. “Without weekly garbage pick up, it becomes clear that we live in a society of high consumption and waste production and that needs to change.”

Simple actions Toronto residents can take to continue to reduce their waste include:

- Choose products that have no or minimal packaging, refuse a plastic carry out shopping bag and use a reusable one
- Inquire about the companies that we support through our purchases, what role do they play in reducing waste? Do they support and participate in waste reduction activities?
- Take a reusable mug to your favourite local coffee shop– some will even offer you a discount for doing so
- Purchase quality products that will last a lifetime
- When buying a big item like a refrigerator or washing machines, ask the retailer to take your used unit back and recycle it
At Home:
- Reuse glass jars to store small items such as nails, screws and craft supplies rather than throwing them out
- Store leftovers in resealable and reusable containers rather than plastic wrap or aluminum foil
- Use old toothbrushes to clean tiles, shoes, etc.
At Work:
- Donate used working computers (and other useful electronics) to charities or schools and ensure non-working equipment is recycled responsibly
- Ask your employer or building manager if materials in your building are recycled
- Send files over email rather than providing colleagues with a hard copy – if you have to print, use both sides of the paper
- Bring your lunch in reusable containers rather than using plastic bags or purchasing your lunch which can often means excess packaging

“The garbage strike provides a good reminder for all of us, forcing us to see the wastes we produce,” said St. Godard.  “We now need to use this experience to change the way we live and become the solution.”

About Recycling Council of Ontario –
The Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization committed to minimizing society's impact on the environment by eliminating waste. RCO's mission is to inform and educate all members of society about the avoidance of waste, efficient use of resources, and the benefits and/or consequences of these activities. Since its inception in 1978, RCO has actively assisted municipalities, corporations, other organizations and individuals in reducing waste.


For more information, please contact:
Josie Haynes, Optimum Public Relations,, 416-934-8012





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