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Direct Energy Center exceeds city mandate

Single container lets Canada’s largest convention center manage all recyclables and compost


Direct Energy Centre in Toronto is Canada’s largest facility for conventions, exhibitions and events. With more than one million square feet of space and millions of visitors – most of whom are in hurry-up mode. In 2002, when the city of Toronto mandated a diversion rate of 70% over the next eight years, The Centre was only collecting bottles and cans. They had to develop a long term plan to achieve the mandated diversion rate by 2010.


Direct Energy Centre partnered with CleanRiver to supply recycling containers, creative graphics, and program consultation tailored to specific waste stream management requirements. “Initially, we liked that their containers are made of recycled material,” says Mike DiMaso, Senior Facility Coordinator. “They have helped with new products, graphics, and strategic advice that make our recycling program work even better.”

One key to successfully managing such a complex waste stream is the Excel Series recycling bin. Constructed with long-lasting HDPE recycled plastic lumber, these containers feature sturdy 2-in. by 2-in. post-and-panel construction that conceals four rigid liners to provide the volume capacity required. Each of the four containers is labeled as to which materials it accepts and uses a specific restricted opening to maximize efficiency and minimize waste stream cross-contamination.

“Even with a fairly complex four-stream process, the CleanRiver containers give people very clear options so they can do what is right and recycle,” says DiMaso.

A critical component of success is the graphic labeling. Direct Energy Centre works closely with CleanRiver’s design team to create the most effective signage. “Because we have a multi-cultural, multi-lingual clientele, we like to use photos to show exactly what goes where,” DiMaso explains. “We know this works because there has been a demonstrable reduction in contamination of the waste stream.”


The Centre has implemented a highly successful recycling program with a waste diversion rate of almost 85%.

The concession stands have embraced organic recycling with compostable hot and cold cups, lids and straws, plates, napkins, utensils, and salad and sandwich packaging. In addition to organics and compostable materials, the waste stream in public areas includes bottles and cans, paper and trash. “This is what visitors have and what they need to get rid of,” DiMaso explains.


What Our Clients are Saying

“At Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club, we were seeking a sustainable solution to expand our recycling and waste collection program. Most golf specific suppliers for these products are out of the United States and overpriced. CleanRiver worked with us to create custom solutions for managing the collection of various items including scorecards, pencils, towels, recycling, and waste. We are very happy with the end results and look forward to expanding our products to enhance collection at our practice facilities as well as on the golf course.”

Chad Thomlinson
General Manager & PGA Executive Professional

“I wanted to follow up with a thank you note. We have received our bins and installed them throughout our facility. They are spectacular. See pics attached.

Jim, sincere thanks for the grant funding and allowing us to really elevate the look of our building. It’s amazing what a difference these bins make.

Thank you both for working so closely with us through this process and making it so seamless. I hope you are both staying healthy and happy.”

Erin Wagner, CPA CA
Finance Manager, SLS Family Sports Centre

“I can’t tell you how much this container is getting praise around here. The Public Works Director attended an Executive Management Team meeting in that conference room at City Hall with the new unit, and he was sure to let me know that the container received several compliments. These will catch on like wildfire in that beautiful old building that needs better recycling options than just a dumpy blue pail.

Kerry Parker
Program Specialist, City of Alameda

“We were put in contact with Tom Lembo in early October. Within 2 weeks we were able to finalize our full order with ease. Tom always responded to our emails in a timely fashion, even when he was traveling at tradeshows. I value good customer service and I felt it was important to forward this feedback to the company. Tom made this process easy and smooth and answered all questions on our end. Tom even suggested some training tools for our employees in order for our company to become efficient in recycling. It is difficult to find valuable people who truly make a difference with a client, and Tom did exactly that.

Nada Elnabelsya

“The addition of the recycle bins along with the correct location of the bins has been an outstanding success and we look forward to even more improvement with the new bins provided this year that are located at all entrances. We are very pleased with the progress we have made recycling and appreciative of the help we have received.”

Don Phelps
Assistant Stadium Manager, McMahon Stadium

“Thanks for your time this morning. A couple pictures with the receptacles in action! They turned out so great, I am beyond thrilled with them.”

Nicole Flewell
Director of Sustainability, Taylor Farms

“On behalf of the Green Army Team at TSH, I would like to thank Karen Morris for the outstanding patience and the excellent work she has done to help us improve our waste diversion rates.

Melissa Nobrega
Environmental Services Manager, The Scarborough Hospital

“We made a major purchase of two different CleanRiver units for our campus. In both locations, our newly renovated student center and our athletic fields, both aesthetics and function were of utmost importance. The CleanRiver TIM and Excel Slant top units ended up being perfect for the locations. They look great and are very functional. Thank you also for the great customer service through the process!”

Natalie Berland
Manager of Sustainability, Bentley University

“Hello! Just wanted to let you know that the bins arrived on Friday. Everyone (staff and our members) loves them! They look great! I’ve attached a few pictures for you! We’ve moved them all into place and they are being used! Thanks!”

Kerri Vanderbom
Project Coordinator, Lakeshore Foundation

“I wanted to thank you for the prompt delivery of the bins. Everyone is very happy with how well they look. We are still in the process of getting them all switched out on grounds, but I wanted to let you know how happy we are. Thanks again!”

Michael Weatherman
Operations Supervisor, Oregon Zoo

“We LOVE the new bins! They look awesome and are definitely what we’ve been wanting. I definitely hope to purchase more bins in the future, I imagine we’ll be looking at additional TRH bins for the academic buildings.”

Brian Webb
Sustainability Coordinator, Houghton College

“The project has been a success and people of the different sites from the Corporation are really integrating the concept. The signs and the bins were perfect for the purpose.

Isabelle D’Amour
Tanguay, Agente d’aménagement des installations/Facility Development Officer Société des musées de sciences et technologies du Canada

“Thank you for everything you did to have my five recycling stations delivered one week before my requested deadline. I truly appreciate the outstanding service! The graphics and the stations as a whole look fantastic, and the staff here at the convention center are also impressed with this quality product.”

Kimberlee Dobbins
Sustainability Coordinator, Virginia Beach Convention Centre

“We tried to have a recycling program before but didn’t have enough manpower to sort the garbage and the bags were too big and heavy to lift out of the bins. We researched some different…

JJ Muehlhausen
Little Rock Zoo

“We have multiple clients that have chosen CleanRiver recycling bins. They are high-quality, durable products with great signage options that help teach users how to properly sort what’s in their hand.

Christina Reeves
Principal Environmental Specialist, Progressive Associates – a Saint Paul, MN-based sustainability consulting firm

“I have had the pleasure of working with CleanRiver for five years. We have purchased a large quantity of the 3 and 4 bin recycling stations for use at several of our facilities across the state (we have 54 facilities from Rockford to Cairo and Quincy to Danville). Based on several factors outlined below, we hope to purchase more in the future.

David B. Miller, SRMP
Illinois Army National Guard