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Solid Waste Reduction & Diversion Plan

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Presenting the Plan

On Monday, January 11 the Administration presented Saskatoon's Solid Waste Reduction & Diversion Plan to the Standing Policy Committee of Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services. It was received as information and will be shared with City Council on Monday, January.

This plan provides a detailed picture of the City’s progress on waste diversion and lays out a roadmap for actions needed to achieve the 70% waste diversion target.

VISION: We produce less waste and recycle or compost most of it.

The Solid Waste Reduction and Diversion Plan provides clear actions the City can take to support our vision for waste management. It directly supports Saskatoon's Civic Vision and strategic goals outlined in The Official Community Plan Bylaw, 2020. 

Waste reduction and diversion contribute to making Saskatoon a great place to live, work, learn, and play through a number of wide-ranging benefits:

 Improved quality of life

 Improved environmental health

 Reduced greenhouse gas emissions

 Reduced use of finite resources

 Economic diversity

 Deferred infrastructure investment for solid waste management

City Council adopted a 10-year 70% waste diversion target in alignment with the 2013 Strategic Goal of Environmental Leadership. While progress has been made since 2013, the City will not meet the target by 2023. The 70% waste diversion target is achievable in the long-term and will continue to measure the City’s progress toward our vision for waste management.  

waste diversion timeline

How are we doing?

The City takes an integrated approach to waste management by combining waste handling and waste reduction strategies. An integrated system considers how to reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, and dispose of waste in ways that protect both human and environmental health while remaining affordable and convenient and maximizing resource use efficiency.

A variety of programs and initiatives, including recycling, composting, hazardous waste collection, and reuse of gently used items, help divert waste from the Saskatoon landfill. Outreach, education, and services support these programs while raising awareness about the importance of waste reduction and diversion.

waste diversion rate

Why are we doing this?

Most of the waste landfilled in Saskatoon isn’t garbage. Over 70% of what residents put in the garbage could have been kept out of the landfill. 
The Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) sector landfills over twice as much waste as residents.

Materials disposed at City of Saskatoon and private landfills (2016 tonnage)

waste diversion composition

How will we get there?

Significant progress will be made through the implementation of city-wide organics, Recovery Park, and mandatory recycling and organics for the ICI sector which is projected to achieve a diversion rate between 41% and 54%. To achieve an additional 29% to 16% diversion and reach the 70% target, improved capture from existing programs is required. Diversion programs for additional material streams, such as textiles, will also be necessary but will have a smaller impact as they make up a small fraction of the waste stream. The Plan identifies actions needed to meet the 70% diversion target, which may be feasible by 2050.

waste diversion projections

The Plan & Timeline

In Progress

  • Residential Curbside Organics
  • Requirements for Businesses and Organizations (ICI) to Divert Recyclables and Organics
  • Recovery Park
  • Recycling Depots: Immediate Improvements
  • Provincial Household Waste Regulation 
  • Requirements for Storage and Safe Collection of Waste at Multi-Unit Buildings
  • Vertical Landfill Gas Well Installation

Short-Term Actions: 2021–2023

  • Accessible Curbside Collections Program
  • Business and Organization Waste Diversion Regulation Compliance
  • Emergency Waste Management and Recycling Strategy
  • Compost Depot Program Review
  • Mandatory Residential Multi-Unit Organics
  • Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste Diversion: City of Saskatoon Options
  • Recycling Market Development
  • Disposal Ban at the Saskatoon Landfill
  • Recycling Depot Program Review
  • Waste Reduction Through Procurement and Specifications
  • Federal Single-Use Plastic Ban and Performance Standards for Plastics
  • Provincial Stewardship Program Review

Medium-Term Actions: 2024–2025

  • Waste Management Service and Sustainability Plan
  • Residential Waste Cart Technology
  • Special/Bulky Waste Program
  • Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste Diversion: Community Options
  • Public Space and Event Waste Reduction 
  • Food Waste Reduction Program
  • 2024 Waste Characterization Study
  • 2025 Solid Waste Reduction & Diversion Plan Update

Long-Term Actions: 2026

  • Share, Reuse, and Repair Program 
  • Textile and Apparel Reduction and Recycling Program
  • Economic Incentive Tools to Support Reduction and Diversion
  • Landfill Closure and Replacement Plan: Waste to Energy Assessment

What can you do?

Combined efforts from all residents can help the City reach its waste diversion goals. One person can make a difference! Here are four simple solutions to help reduce waste and make Saskatoon a cleaner, greener place to live:

  1. Practice the 3R’s
    • ​​​​​​The 3R’s is a linear approach, not circular. First Reduce, then Reuse, before opting to Recycle. The best method of reducing waste in our households is prevention. Before a purchase, investigate low-waste or alternative packaging materials. Once purchased, consider if there are alternative purposes for the packaging. If recycling is the only option, ensure it is accepted in Saskatoon’s Residential Recycling Program.
  1. Ask the Wizard
    • The recycling waste stream is dependent upon global markets and is prone to changes. Remembering what is and is not accepted in our waste streams can be difficult. Visit saskatoon.ca/wastewizard or download the Saskatoon Recycle & Waste app and search for any item to get recycling and disposal information.
  1. Ditch Disposable, Go Reusable
    • One of the simplest ways to reduce waste is to switch to reusable options rather than disposable. Convenience and actively using these options is key! Ensure reusable alternatives are accessible; stash an extra reusable container in a backpack, keep a reusable bag on a keychain, or bring a reusable straw.
  1. Excess Packaging
    • Align with companies that have low-waste products or sustainable values. As a consumer, we can choose to opt for a low-waste lifestyle—though we may be limited by the manufacturer’s choice of packaging materials. To make a feasible difference, write a letter directly to the manufacturer. The letter should provide evidence on why excess packaging is an environmental issue and asks questions about their sustainability plans or gives alternative solutions they may not have considered.

Actions within the Plan will also contribute to meeting Saskatoon’s greenhouse gas reduction target of 80% by 2050, including the Low Emissions Community Plan’s target for cumulative greenhouse gas reductions from waste of 1.303 million (M) tonnes of C02e by 2050. This equates to reducing or diverting 90% of organics, 95% of plastics, and 90% of paper from the Landfill.