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Toronto man told city would divert big compost load to landfill


A Toronto man says one of the city’s garbage policies is rubbish after he was told a big load of compost he brought to a city transfer station would end up in the landfill.

Milos Brkic said the next suggestion city staff gave him was to hold on to the compost, generated by a 60-person family event, and slowly send it through Toronto’s green bin system – something Brkic estimated would take weeks.

“It was 30 degrees outside. It would have been a fly-fest. Not a good scene,” Brkic said in an interview with CTV News.

Brkic said he really wanted to “get the garbage thing right” for the Canada Day get-together, printing signs for each type of waste: organic or compostable, reusable, recyclable and garbage.

But disillusioned, he returned to the Bermondsey Transfer Station, prepared to let city staff put the bags of organic waste in the landfill.

He snapped a picture and had a change of heart — realizing there was another way: share it with neighbours and get rid of it using their green bins.

“It was a community effort to do the right thing,” he said.

The City of Toronto introduced one of the first green bin programs in North America in 2002. It’s a way to keep food waste out of the landfill, where it would generate methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas.

Once composted, it can make a soil that can be returned to farms and gardens. Another benefit: it slows how fast city landfills approach capacity.

The green bins head to Dufferin or Disco transfer stations, but a call to 3-1-1 on Sunday confirmed no transfer station will take compost drop-offs.

“Organics are not accepted from any other customers. No commercial or residential loads are accepted. Organics will be treated as garbage,” the city employee said.

When asked for suggestions, she said, “You could spread it out and ask your neighbours to help.”

On Monday, the City of Toronto said its transfer stations are only designed for collection vehicles to access the organics tip floor and said there could be safety issues if people accessed it themselves.

A spokesperson said new green bins introduced between 2016 and 2018 are designed to hold almost 100 litres of material and, with weekly collection, requests for additional disposal options are not very common. 

But being able to drop off compost could be another way to make sure compost is getting where it needs to go, according to the Toronto Environmental Alliance.

“Keeping organics out of other garbage is an important thing we need to put some attention to,” said TEA campaigner Emily Alfred.

The city processed approximately 130,000 residential tonnes of organic material through its green bin program, which is turned into biogas and digester solids that are turned into high-quality compost used to feed and nourish soil.

The biogas is captured into renewable natural gas, which is “injected into the grid and is blended with fossilized natural gas to create a lower carbon fuel. This project is one of the first of its kind in North America,” the city spokesperson said. Top Stories

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