Informing Municipal Planning: Lessons Learned from the Development of a By-Product Waste Exchange in Toronto, Ontario.
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Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) is becoming an increasing challenge for municipal authorities due to global increases in waste quantities. Other challenges include; changes in waste composition and increasing concern for the environment. As cities continue to grow, so too will the waste. The management of waste therefore becomes critical to municipal planning. Health and sanitation, aesthetics, minimization of pollution and the monitoring of critical resources are just some of the reasons municipalities must manage and control solid waste. Using the Toronto Pearson Eco Business Zone as a case study, this thesis explores how waste (by-product) exchanges might inform municipal planning and how waste exchanges could advise planners and academics in managing growing amounts of municipal waste. The Toronto Pearson Eco Business Zone is a developing Eco Industrial Park which utilizes theories and concepts of ecology and resource recovery to reduce waste. Utilizing a qualitative research approach, data was obtained from businesses throughout the Park to develop a waste exchange database. The results of this study suggest that the application of concepts underlying Eco Industrial Parks such as a by-product exchange program can assist to drive resource recovery and sustainable waste management practices. However, users of the exchange are highly uneducated or unaware of the links between waste and resources. This was made evident by the fact that companies were more inclined to continue the practice of revenue recycling over the sustainable approach as offered by the exchange. This conclusion suggests that although a waste exchange can help to drive resource recovery, increased education and awareness through mandatory regulations could help to drive resource recovery even further. For the greater success of waste management in Canada, the Government should take action to regulate the planning and organization of waste exchanges in industrial and surrounding areas. The Pearson Eco-Business by-product exchange suggests that cities should not be planned without consideration of solid waste and resource recovery therefore suggesting that concepts related to Eco-Industrial parks should be applied to all municipal and city planning moving forward.