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Waste Diverted From the Landfill

“Divert 70% of waste from the Saskatoon landfill” measures our success in environmental stewardship.  The target means that more of Saskatoon’s waste will be recycled, reused, or composted instead of going to the landfill. 

How are we doing?

In 2017, the City’s Waste Diversion Rate was 22.8%, slightly up from 21.8% in 2016. The City calculates the Waste Diversion Rate based on City run diversion and disposal programs. It does not include reduction, reuse, recycling or disposal through non-City programs, such as beverage containers, e-waste or nearby landfills. 

Data Table
Saskatoon Waste Diversion Rate
  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 ...2023
Diversion Rate Target (%) 15.0 19.6 17.3 18.4 22.7 22.5 21.0 21.8 22.8 70


The target measures the success  of the City's waste management programs; it also indicates the City's and the community's commitment as environmental stewards to responsibly manage the materials that don't belong in the landfill.

Waste Diversion Rate =            Total waste diverted          
                                           Total waste (diverted + landfill)

"Total waste diverted” includes the amount of waste diverted through City of Saskatoon programs including recycling (curbside collection, multi-unit residential collection, public space recycling and recycling depots) and composting (curbside subscription program and compost depots, as well as materials collected through the EcoCentre at the City’s landfill). The calculated waste diversion rate does not include reduction, reuse, recycling or composting initiatives coordinated through non-City service providers such as SARCAN. “Total waste” includes the amount of waste diverted plus the amount of waste that goes to the City of Saskatoon landfill. Waste going to third party landfills is not included.

How are other cities doing?

Different jurisdictions have varying methods of defining and reporting their total waste and waste diversion indicators, which makes comparisons between municipalities challenging. Regardless, the City of Saskatoon’s waste diversion rate of 22.8% continues to place well below many other Canadian municipalities, with the diversion rate among cities and regions participating in municipal benchmarking averaging 43.7%, with rates ranging from 21.7% (Regina) and 63% (Metro Vancouver). More info can be found in the 2017 Integrated Waste Management Report (Table 1. Diversion Rates of Other Canadian Municipalities and Regions). Other municipalities have set waste diversion targets ranging from 50% to 90%, with 2020 being a common target date

What do we need to do to achieve this target?

In 2023, approximately 200,300 tonnes of waste are expected. To reduce the amount going to the landfill to 60,000, the following is required:

  • Current programs will divert up to 46,300 tonnes or approximately 23% of waste by 2023.
  • Proposed new programs will divert an additional 74,000 tonnes or 37% of total waste when fully implemented.
  • Additional programs need to be identified to divert another 20,000 tonnes or 10% of waste to reach 70%.
Current Programs Tonnes Diverted in 2016 Tonnes Diverted in 2017 Potential Tonnes Diverted by 2023
Curbside Recycling (single family) 9,767 9,311 16,800
Multi-Unit Recycling 1,721 1,954 3,500
Compost Depot 11,209 11,644 20,000
Green Cart (Leaves & Grass) Program 2,470 2,418 3,500
Recycling Depots 1,721 1,784 2,000
Household Hazardous Waste Days 101 102 300
Outgoing Recyclable Material from Landfill   627 627 -
Charity Bins N/A 122 -
Public Space Recycling 5 3 200
Total 27,101 27,903 46,340


Proposed New Programs Potential Tonnes Diverted by 2023
Recovery Park 22,000
Food Waste Program 12,000
Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Recycling 8,500
Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Food Waste 9,500
New Programs to be Determined 22,000
Total 74,000


What are the benefits of achieving the target?

Waste diversion provides economic, environmental, and social benefits:

  • Significant future costs to build a new landfill will be postponed or avoided. If waste is not diverted, a new landfill will be necessary within 50 years at an estimated cost of $180 million.
  • Landfill operating costs and the market value for land are $90 per cubic meter or approximately $4 million per year (2009 valuation).
  • Recycling conserves raw materials and saves energy.
  • In 2017, the City’s waste diversion programs contributed to the avoidance of 48,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – the equivalent of removing 10,300 vehicles from Saskatoon’s roadways for the year.
  • Waste diversion programs create local jobs and provide skills and learning opportunities for more than 400 adults with intellectual disabilities.


What are the risks?
  • Achieving the target will require changes in what people send to the landfill. Changing attitudes and habits towards waste disposal may take more time. 

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