Toronto's 'Target 70': Multi-unit Buildings, It's Your Turn

Jesse Fleming in Urban Issues

As of July 1, 2008, residents of multi-unit buildings will be charged a fee for garbage collection.  In a previous post, I had explained the roll-out of Toronto’s green/grey/blue bin programs which, at the time, excluded condominiums, apartment buildings and certain town house developments - anywhere that communal garbage collection takes place.  Fellow building residents, our time is nigh.

According to the City of Toronto website, “building owners will be required to pay a fee for garbage collection based on how much garbage is set out by building residents.” The charge will be for the entire building and billed to the building owner, replacing the current $157 per unit fee that is included on property taxes.  A pro-rated refund will be issued for the amount that is equal to the average amount collected through taxes in the form of a credit on your new combined Water/Solid Waste utility bill.  Fees are subject to change according to the yearly budget.

Frequently asked questions on the City website address most inquiries that residents may have about this new program.  Two in particular are questions that I have asked myself:

Why roll out the solid waste management fee in multi-unit buildings before the Green Bin Program is implemented?
The fact that the Green Bin Program is not yet available to multi-unit dwellings was taken into account in setting the 2008 waste fees for multi-unit buildings. The Green Bin Program will be rolled out to multi-unit buildings once adequate processing capacity for Green Bin organics is available.

What if my tenant/neighbour is not recycling? If my tenant/neighbour does not recycle will it cost us all more for garbage?
Buildings are charged a fee for garbage only. There is no fee for recycling, bulky items or, once it is available, Green Bin organics. This encourages property managers and owners to put more effort into improving recycling programs in their buildings. If you have questions or comments regarding participation in the program at your particular building, please speak with your building manager.

The second question is one that I believe affects every building resident in Toronto.  Residents who do not recycle may incur the wrath of their neighbours who do not wish to pay for someone else's trash.  But what about manufacturers?  Are producers going to make a concerted effort to package goods in 100% recyclable material in order to aid consumers' endeavors to keep garbage output low?  Neighbourly disputes may arise but it is important to find out whether someone just does not feel like recycling or if they simply are not able to.

November 1, 2008 is the penciled in date for the single-family home version of this program to roll-out. 

Jesse Fleming is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Email Jesse

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