Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver pledge to cut waste sent to landfill and incineration by 50 percent
Commitment by 23 cities and regions globally to avoid disposal of at least 87 million tons of waste by 2030
Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver have joined 20 leading cities around the world in making a commitment to zero waste ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, which takes place September 12-14 in San Francisco, California.
At the end of August, 23 pioneering cities and regions committed to significantly cut the amount of waste they generate, accelerating them on the path toward zero waste. By signing C40's Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration, these cities and regions have pledged to cut the amount of waste generated by each citizen 15% by 2030, reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and incineration by 50% and increase the diversion rate to 70% by 2030. Signatory cities and regions include Auckland, Catalonia, Copenhagen, Dubai, London, Milan, Montreal, Navarra, New York City, Newburyport, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Rotterdam, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver & Washington D.C
The 150 million citizens that live in the 23 cities and regions are accelerating the transition to a zero-waste future and will avoid the disposal of at least 87 million tons of waste by 2030.
Such bold commitments, made ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, are essential steps in delivering on the highest goals of the Paris Agreement and keeping global temperature rise below 1.5℃.
Worldwide waste generation is increasing faster than any other environmental pollutant, and action in this sector can have a much faster and greater impact in combating climate change. For instance, the 1.3 billion tonnes of annual worldwide food scraps sent to landfills each year decomposes into methane, which is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 and already accounts for 25% of current global warming. Transforming solid waste and material management systems globally could reduce global emissions by 20%.
That is why mayors of the world's urban centres are accelerating the transition towards a zero-waste future. Mayors have committed to taking ambitious, measurable and inclusive actions to reduce municipal solid waste generation and improve materials management in their cities, both key to making our urban centres cleaner, healthier, more resilient and inclusive. Better waste management can also create jobs and economic opportunities for social entrepreneurs and vulnerable communities.
"Montréal believes in the value of collective action by cities and their citizens in order to reach global waste reduction goals," commented Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal. "Our city's initiatives, such as the implementation of organic waste collection, and the development of a comprehensive plastic-reduction strategy on city territory, all converge towards one common goal: reducing household consumption, and providing alternatives to landfills for household waste."
The Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration is built on two bold commitments: 1) reducing the municipal solid waste generation per capita by at least 15% by 2030 compared to 2015; and 2) reducing the amount of municipal solid waste disposed to landfill and incineration by at least 50% by 2030 compared to 2015, and increasing the diversion rate away from landfill and incineration to at least 70% by 2030.
"Cities like Vancouver are stepping up and taking on an unprecedented role in reaching global waste reduction targets," said the Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson. "As our oceans and environment continue to be polluted, we recognize the urgency of reducing waste going to landfill and are committed to transitioning to be a zero-waste city."
Specifically, signatory cities will implement bold actions, including:
• Reduce food losses and wasting of food at the retail and consumer levels by decreasing losses along production and supply chains, minimizing the production of surplus food, and facilitating safe food donation and by-products for feed production.
• Implement source separated collection for food scraps and other organics and treatment infrastructure that recovers nutrients, energy and contributes to the restoration of carbon storage capacity in soils.
• Support the implementation of local and regional policies, such as extended producer responsibility and sustainable procurement, to reduce or ban single-use and non-recyclable plastics and other materials, while also improving goods reparability and recyclability.
• Increase reduction, reuse, recovery and recycling of construction and demolition materials.
• Increase accessibility, awareness, scale and inclusivity of reduction, reutilization and recycling programmes and policies for all communities and neighbourhoods, investing in city wide communication and engagement efforts, offering resources in multiple languages, and
• Ensure benefits are distributed equitably across the city population.
• Publicly report every two years on the progress the cities are making towards these goals.
Leading up to the Global Climate Action Summit, C40 urged cities to step up their climate action and ambition - the August announcement is one of the city commitments under that initiative. The high ambition Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration was developed by C40 and the city of San Francisco, in consultation with other C40 cities in the Waste to Resources network.
"Dramatically reducing waste will help curb carbon emissions while helping us build a fairer, cleaner and more livable city for all New Yorkers," said Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City. "Continuing to pile up more and more garbage in landfills is not sustainable, which is why we've created the largest organics collection and reuse program in the country, serving over three million New Yorkers. We're proud to stand alongside other leading cities worldwide in taking ambitious steps to cut down on waste."
Additional quotes from Mayors involved in the commitment.
"To deliver on the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement requires urgent transformations of every aspect of modern life, including our consideration about what we throw away," said Mayor of Paris and C40 Chair, Anne Hidalgo. "With this commitment, cities are getting the job done, inventing the new practices to build better cities for generations to come. One more time, the future is taking place in cities."
"To make Tokyo a world-leading, environment-conscious city, Tokyo is implementing ambitious actions to reduce and recycle municipal solid waste. Tokyo wishes to have every citizen become even more aware of "mottainai" (it's too precious to waste) and change their behavior. As a member of the C40 steering committee, I will work hand in hand with the world's major cities, and advance the initiatives," said Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "Earlier this year my Environment Strategy set out bold and ambitious targets for cutting waste in London. That means no biodegradable or recyclable waste sent to landfill by 2026, and cutting food waste and associated packaging by 50 per cent per head by 2030. It also means working hard to reduce single-use plastic bottles and packaging which can end up overflowing our landfills and finding their way into our oceans. Cities around the world must work together if we're going to make real progress in cutting waste."
"Waste management is key for cities to rapidly lower their emissions", said Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala. "Milan has reached an ambitious 60% of successful waste recycling through the active engagement of citizens and visitors and a strong focus on preventing food waste. It is a natural further step for Milan to join forces with other C40 cities in committing to a zero-waste future for a healthier environment".
"Copenhagen fully supports the Zero Waste declaration. Cities need to take climate action now and deliver the highest goals of the Paris Agreement. The sustainable and liveable city of the future is also a city that moves towards zero-waste. In Copenhagen we are committed to become even greener to reach our goal of becoming the world's first co2-neutral city by 2025", says Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen.
"Auckland is committed to protecting its environment in a sustainable way, which includes recycling rather than landfilling and tackling the critical challenges posed by climate change," said Phil Goff, Mayor of Auckland
"Philadelphia is proud to set an ambitious but achievable goal of becoming a Zero Waste city by 2035. Meeting this goal will not only cut carbon emissions and other pollutants, but will help reduce the waste entering landfills, combat litter, and enhance the cleanliness of streets and public spaces," said Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia
"Our residents generate close to 65,000 tonnes of waste every year - and while we divert 69 per cent from landfill, our goal is to achieve ‘zero waste' by 2030. We'll soon extend our e-waste service to offer all residents free weekly pick-ups and we're trialling food and textiles collections from apartment buildings. We're also partnering with major hotel groups, museums and tourist icons like the Sydney Opera House to reduce their emissions, water and waste. It's an incredibly important partnership given Sydney's accommodation and entertainment sector generates 47 per cent of all commercial waste in our city," said Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore
"With these new commitments, we are advancing DC values and doubling down on our efforts to build a zero-waste future," said Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. "By building a greener, more resilient, and more sustainable DC, we're making good on our commitment to uphold the goals of the Paris Climate Accord and finding new ways to shrink our carbon footprint."
"Newburyport is proud to join cities and mayors across the globe to address the critical need to reduce and advance our work towards zero waste. We have been working diligently with broad community partnerships to educate residents and incrementally achieve significant reductions through creative organics programs, hazardous waste and electronics recycling, banning single-use plastic bags and re-purposing excess foods in our schools. Each city that steps up to join these efforts will make a real difference today and as we plan for the future health of our communities," said Mayor of Newburyport, Donna D. Holaday.