According to a September 9 article in the Toronto Star newspaper, Angelos Bacopoulos, the City of Toronto’s general manager of solid waste management services, will be leaving his position on September 15 although nearly a year remains on his employment contract. Bacopoulos, 52, has served the city (and the old Metro government) for 23 years.
Toronto is entering a challenging period as it attempts to live up to its pledge to achieve total waste diversion by 2012. This promise evolved in part as a reaction to pressure from Michigan politicians, some of whom are attempting to close the border to waste exports from Canada.
Toronto has rolled out aggressive Green Bin composting and expanded recycling programs, and is now tackling the problematic issue of compelling large apartment and condominium complexes to start sorting their garbage. Bacopoulos oversaw the development and implementation of these programs.
According to the Toronto Star article, "both the city and Bacopoulos were tight-lipped about the reasons for his departure, which was not formally announced" although
Bacopoulos said in an interview with that newspaper that the departure was "mutually agreed upon."
"You get to a point in your career where it’s time to move on and let younger people take over and run the portfolio for a while, and take their turn at getting beat up a little by the portfolio," he said, adding, "My whole career I’ve been a garbage man.
"There’s a lot of pressure to achieve diversion rates, and a lot of controversial programs come forward that provide some real political challenges. There’s no doubt it’s a very difficult portfolio."
Bacopoulos says he’s looking forward to some time off to spend with his family, and that after a few weeks he’ll begin reviewing possible employment options, including the private sector.
Note: This news item will be updated in the upcoming October/November edition of Solid Waste & Recycling magazine.