Toronto no longer has a solid waste landfill site. When the Keele Valley site closed at the end of 2002, the city had already made a new deal to ship its garbage by truck to a site in Michigan (USA). In September 2006, Toronto City council agreed to purchase the privately owned Green Lane landfill site near London Ontario; the contract to ship household garbage to Michigan ended in 2010. At one point there was a discussion around incineration as an alternative method of waste disposal, but this was met with opposition from many Toronto environmental groups.
Furniture Bank does not have all the answers to our solid waste problems but we do offer a solution that can solve some of the issues. Unfortunately most Torontonians don’t even know we exist. In the last couple of years we’ve been able to work more closely with the city and share with the public what we are doing to make a difference. We have stacks of letters from donors expressing their gratitude for being able to donate their gently used furniture instead of contributing to landfill waste. We provide a service through which people can be better citizens by taking responsibility both socially and environmentally.
Our mission is to facilitate the transfer of household furnishings (solid waste) from donors to recipient.
We have a solution to one of the root causes of solid waste, a solution that can be adopted by permanent providers and/or by government. We are actively seeking financial commitment from a range of different sources; we partner and collaborate with agencies, organizations and funders, and we involve the target population in the planning and implementation of the project.
We measure our actions when it comes to reduce, reuse and recycle. In 2008 we diverted 726 metric tonnes (an increase of 14% over 2007) of solid waste from landfill sites; in 2009 we diverted 1,138 metric tonnes; in 2010 we diverted 1,292 metric tonnes; in 2011 we diverted 1,400 metric tonnes; and in 2012 we diverted 1,526 metric tonnes! A metric tonne of waste is the equivalent of approximately 14 couches. Imagine that in a green space.
Some of our volunteers took recycling to the next level by producing 842 cushions, 332 pillows, 77 pairs of curtains, 50 bed spreads, 24 lampshades and 93 reupholstered chairs, all out of materials that would have made its way to landfill sites. And we can do more; we are only limited by our current resources. There is a demand to expand and we truly want to help other communities in Canada take responsibility.
|That’s a total of 21,364 couches that did not end up in our landfills last year alone.|