Saskatoon

City of Saskatoon says too much garbage going to landfill

The City of Saskatoon says more work needs to be done to keep recyclables out of the city's landfill.

Waste diversion rate at 22 per cent in 2017, national average almost double

The City of Saskatoon says its waste diversion rate is about half the national average. (Josh Pagé/CBC)

The City of Saskatoon says more work needs to be done to keep recyclables out of the city's landfill.

In a report to councillors, administrators said Saskatoon's waste diversion rate was 22.8 per cent last year. That number is dwarfed by the national waste diversion average of 43.7 per cent, almost double the local level.

The findings show Saskatoon has a long way to go to reach its target of 70 per cent waste diversion by 2023. The city is focused on waste diversion in an attempt to save the need for building another landfill (which could cost as much as $100 million), as well as decreasing the city's carbon footprint.

The report shows the city's green bin program was most successful at taking garbage out of the landfill. Fourteen thousand tonnes of organics were sent to city composting programs, making up just over 50 per cent of the diverted waste.

Meanwhile, residential recycling programs (multi-unit and curbside) accounted for roughly 40 per cent of waste sent somewhere other than the garbage, or 11,265 tonnes.

The majority of diverted garbage in 2017 came from the city's composting program. (City of Saskatoon)

While the city has seen a marginal one per cent increase in waste diversion from 2016, total garbage headed to the landfill has stayed steady at 52,000 tonnes, with 2.6 million black-cart collections.

The city said its recycling and organics programs resulted in the equivalent of 48,000 fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of removing 10,300 cars from the road.

User-pay garbage

The city was quick to point out that it is working on the situation.

Last year, councillors voted in favour of developing a plan to institute user-pay garbage collection, where residents would be charged based on the amount of garbage they produce.

The main goal of the system is to create a garbage utility, rather than have trash collection paid for through property taxes.

The plan was met with hostility from some residents, who were concerned about illegal dumping and rising costs.

Councillors also spoke in favour of a city-wide organics recycling program last year, rather than the current subscription-based green cart system.

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