Another Way to Deal with Butts

Cigarette butts are usually aren’t disposed of properly (why do smokers think it’s OK to litter?) and this is a problem for many cities. Earlier this year we looked at the Pick Up Your Butts campaign and now a new strategy of dealing with butts has taken hold.

A restaurant in Toronto has put up special bins in their neighbourhood to collect cigarette butts. This waste will then be converted into something useful: pallets.

Café staff will be in charge of emptying the boxes and shipping the butts to a TerraCycle plant in north Toronto, where they’ll be shredded and separated into organic and inorganic waste. The organic material will be turned into non-agricultural compost. The rest will be made into plastic lumber and shipping pallets, which could then be sold to home renovation stores and builders.

Layton said that’s a much better solution than letting tons of cigarette butts end up in a landfill or wash away into sewers and empty into Lake Ontario.

The cigarette stubs “are made of plastic and they’re not breaking down — and what does break down is toxic,” he told the Star. “It’s poisoning our own water supply, which is pretty crazy.”

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Living Architecture Tour of Toronto

If you’re in Toronto or visiting you can now go on a special tour of the city that will reveal all the cool living architecture! It’s a free tour that you can download and go on anytime you’d like.

Toronto abounds with green roofs and walls, but most people aren’t aware since living infrastructure is often hidden atop buildings or behind closed doors. This tour reveals our city’s vegetative roofs and walls.

Living architecture offers a cornucopia of benefits, which you can experience by looking, smelling, touching and listening. #LivingArchTOur helps Torontonians and visitors to our wonderful city experience these benefits for themselves.

Try the tour!

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PULP: Using Old Materials for New Movements

Art is fun and it can be even more fun when it contributes to changing the world. PULP is an organization that welcomes people (beginners to pros) who are into art and want to make art that uses pre-used materials. This year they’re throwing a party!

PULP: paper art party 2015 is an interactive art and design exhibit integrated with a live music show. The party brings together artists of all fields, musicians, activity groups, and hundreds of guests. We will be raising funds and using our collective design expertise to help a charity in Toronto. Past events have supported the Street Haven at the Crossroads’ women’s shelter and Architecture for Humanity.

This year, the event will take place at Jam Factory Co. situated in south Riverdale within the Greater Toronto Area. The event is set to take place on May 23rd, 2015.

Check out PULP.

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Rob Ford No Longer Mayor of Toronto

Rob Ford has been the worst mayor of Toronto and as of today he’s officially no longer mayor. I say officially because he was stripped of his real power over a year ago. Why is this good news though?

Ford divided the city in a way no other politician was able (or willing) to do; he pitted the people who care about the city against people who only care about lower taxes. In Toronto this basically meant the “old” city of Toronto and the “new” inner suburbs of the city. Divisive politics is not a good thing and already the new mayor of Toronto, John Tory, has said one of his aims is to unite Toronto.

Other problems with Ford came from the fact that he openly lies about anything from quitting drinking to the state of municipal coffers. Here’s a big list of Ford’s incompetence.

Readers of this blog already know that bicycles are the present and future of urban transportation. Ford, on the other hand, thinks that cyclist deserve to die. Ford spent $300,000 to remove bike lanes in the city despite that bike lanes make the roads safer for everyone. He literally made the city a more dangerous place for road users.

On the other hand, North America’s largest city expanded their bicycle infrastructure and are reaping the benefits.

Ford also hates the environment, which is ridiculous since it’s basically hating the air. When Toronto got hit by a ton of rain in a very short time I posted this:

Yesterday Toronto got more rain in two hours than it normally does in a month which meant some serious flooding happened. This got me thinking of a program that Toronto (alleged crackhead) Mayor (busted for DUI) Rob (loves pollution) Ford (reads while driving) cancelled. The cancelled program promoted green roofs to help with flood control while lessening wear on existing infrastructure.

So the ineptitude of the current Toronto mayor got me thinking of how things could have been different with forethought of climate change. It’s worth noting that Rob Ford spent the flood idling in his SUV:

Rob Ford is still in politics in Toronto but this time as a councillor. He lacks the political sway he once had and it’s now not a good thing to associate with the tarnished and former mayor.

May we never see another mayor so malicious, evil, self-serving, and desperate to cling to power as Rob Ford. Hopefully today marks a political restart for Toronto.

Long live Toronto the good.

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Growing the Green Roof Industry in North America

Green roofs are great! They help alleviate a lot of issues that arise in urban living while making cities more beautiful. There is growing interest in making sure that urban green roofs take off and it looks like it is working.

While other countries like Germany have been using green roofs since the 1980’s, North America has been playing catch up. Toronto, however, is a city enamoured with renewable energy and sustainability. Ryerson’s engineering building on Church St., the new Forensic Services and Coroner’s Complex and Toronto City Hall are all notable examples of green roof early adopters.

A pioneer in North America, the city requires all new builds with a minimum gross floor area of 2,000m2 to include a portion of vegetation on roof surfaces. It also offers a grant of up to $75/square metre to offset the cost of green-roof installation. Similar incentive programs are being instated in Washington DC, NYC and Chicago, but Toronto is the first to actually mandate builders to include a vegetated roof – or face a hefty fine.

And with good reason. Green roofs divert waste, help manage storm water, moderate ‘urban heat island’ effects and improve air quality. They also reduce noise and can save significant amounts of money. In a warehouse complex, for example, the evaporation characteristics of a green roof can lower the inside temperature from between three to five degrees celsius.

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