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What’s in Our “Garbage”?

    Status: Needs improvement

Much of what we send to landfills isn't garbage. It’s organics (food and yard waste), which could be composted, or materials that could be recycled. We need to understand what’s currently going to landfills and take steps to divert much of that waste into the proper recycling and organics streams.

Where are we now?

In 2016, The City of Saskatoon worked with a consultant to characterize the composition of waste actually going to landfills. The resulting study found that the Saskatoon’s landfilled waste streams were made up largely of materials that should be diverted away from landfills. Overall, 17% of the waste headed for landfills was recyclable, and 32% was food and yard waste that could be composted or handled in some other appropriate way. Thus, approximately half the waste going to landfills could be diverted.  This amount is in addition to the 23 percent that is already being diverted. Saskatoon City Council has set a target of 70% waste diversion by 2023.  


Source: Dillon Consulting, City of Saskatoon: Waste Diversion Opportunities Report, final report, p. 42.

Data table
Estimated Waste Composition 2016 , All Generators
Type Percentage
recyclables 17
food waste 24
yard and garden 8
construction and demolition 15
household hazardous waste 0
electronics or "e-waste" 1
garbage 35

 Source: Dillon Consulting, City of Saskatoon: Waste Diversion Opportunities Report, final report, p. 42.

What are we doing?

Waste Diversion Opportunities Report
The Waste Diversion Report provides a roadmap for Saskatoon’s waste management programs and recommends a number of policies and initiatives.

Residential Recycling
Every resident in Saskatoon can now recycle at home with the curbside recycling program and the multi-unit residential recycling program. The City’s four Recycle Depots are also available for extra or oversized recycling.

Household Hazardous Waste Days
These events offer residents a way to safely dispose of household items that are dangerous for waste collectors and can harm the environment. 

Composting Programs
The City offers a number of ways for residents to compost, including two Compost Depots with free drop off, a subscription Green Cart Program, and a Home Composting education program. 

What can you do?

Find out more about home composting, sign up for a Green Cart, or take yard waste to a Compost Depot.

Sign up for collection reminders for your black, blue, and green carts.

Check to see if something can be recycled before throwing it out. Check the City's Waste Wizard searchable database or the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council’s “Where do I recycle my…” page. Many household items such as batteries, light bulbs, paint, and electronics can be diverted from the landfill.

Reuse items that still have a useful life by buying or selling items second hand, donating items to charity, or taking part in a curbside swap.

Did You Know?

Saskatoon homes and businesses send approximately 78,000 tonnes of food and yard waste to landfills each year. Properly handled in composting facilities or home compost systems, much of this material can be turned into a valuable soil amendment that improves fertility, soil structure, and water-holding capacity.