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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Toronto's Community Environment Days now in their 20th year

Toronto's Community Environment Days now in their 20th year

The City of
Toronto's Community Environment Days program has reached the 20-year milestone
this year. These events give residents the opportunity to reduce the amount of
waste going to landfill by dropping off items that are reusable, recyclable or

Held annually between April and October in each of Toronto's
wards, Community Environment Days are a partnership among Solid Waste Management
Services, Toronto Water, Toronto Environment Office, local councillors and
community environment groups. Over the past 20 years, Toronto has:
• held 745
• attracted a total of 466,859 participants, and
• collected 9,820
tonnes of reusable and recyclable or safely disposable items, including 5,920
tonnes of household hazardous waste and 2,105 tonnes of electronic

In addition, the program has sold 89,101 composters and has given
away 21,072 tonnes of compost.

A comprehensive list is available stating
what items residents may drop off, pick up or purchase - based on what the
various contractors can safely dispose of, recycle or reuse. Despite the
guidelines, a few unusual items have been dropped off at Environment Day events.
One year, for example, an old grenade that someone dug up from their back yard
was dropped off with other items for recycling, prompting a quick call to the
police bomb squad. The squad concluded that the grenade was not a danger and
that its only significance was historical in nature.

Among the groups
that have partnered with past Community Environment Day events are Toronto
Hydro, with its "Great Exchange" program, in which residents could drop off
unwanted air conditioners and dehumidifiers, and the City's own "Live Green -
Cut It Out" program, which collected gasoline-powered lawn equipment. The
production team from Discovery Canada's Junk Raiders television show
participated in a 2010 event to collect and "re-purpose" reusable waste into
building material.

Community Environment Days are also registered
collectors in provincial programs developed by Waste Diversion Ontario in
co-operation with stewardship groups for the collection/recycling of electronic
waste and tires.

Even though the City now collects many items directly
from households, Community Environment Days continue to go beyond curbside
pickup, allowing residents to drop off non-Blue Bin items such as clothing,
household hazardous waste, tires and non-perishable food, and offering people
the opportunity to buy waste containers and water-efficiency

More information about the 2011 Community Environment Day
events is available at, or call

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and
home to a diverse population of about 2.6 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.

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