Community Waste Diversion
What is the indicator and why measure it?
All waste processed through the Region's Materials Recovery Centre (MRC) is weighed in tonnes collected annually. This includes waste landfilled and diverted materials such as:
- All blue box materials (cans, glass, paper etc.)
- E-waste (computers, televisions etc.)
- Furniture, clothing and building materials (through Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity)
- Wooden pallets and yard waste
- Tires and household hazardous waste
- Bicycles (through the Recycle Cycles program)
In addition to the weight of the material landfilled and diverted, per capita statistics and percentage diversion are further used to monitor progress made. Landfill data is available for residential and industrial, commercial and institutional sectors (ICI) whereas diversion data is primarily reflecting the residential sector and waste collected at the MRC. Region of Waterloo is committed to continually reduce the amount of waste requiring landfill in the long-term. Reducing the amount of waste landfilled prolongs the use of current landfill capacity which delays the need for alternative waste disposal options. With the success of many diversion programs, a wide variety of materials are re-used and recycled which also reduces the need for new natural resources.
Waste Management Master Plan
The Region of Waterloo has begun a new Waste Management Master Plan (WMMP) study to look at waste collection, diversion and disposal over the next 20 years and beyond. The new plan will consider population growth, changes to Ontario legislation, advances in waste management technology, and limited landfill capacity. The Region's current WMMP was completed in 1986, and served as the guide for waste management programs and services for the past 25 years. The Region has implemented most of the recommendations from that plan, including:
- expanding blue box recycling Region-wide, to include multi-residential housing and rural areas;
- expanding the Household Hazardous Waste program;
- introducing curbside collection of leaf and yard waste;
- building the Nyle Ludolph Materials Recycling Centre; and
- approving the expansion of the Waterloo landfill to current site limits.
The success of these programs has extended the life of the Waterloo landfill, but it still has a limited amount of space.
Green Bin Program
The principles of the 1986 WMMP were also used to guide the development and rollout of the Region's Green Bin program. With approximately 40 per cent of household waste being organic, the green bin program, offers the single largest potential to divert household waste. The pilot project started in 2006 and has grown to a Region wide program.
Waste diversion target
Even with a residential population growth of over 100,000 people between 1999 and 2012, the total amount of waste landfilled is about the same as in 1999. The amount of waste diverted has increased due to the numerous residential diversion programs mentioned above.
The short-term, 2013 reduction target was established based on the estimated waste diversion from the expansion of the Green Bin program. While the amount of organic waste material diverted from the landfill since the program began has gradually increased with 132,000 households having access to the program, collection has levelled off at approximately 10,000 tonnes collected annually. The Region has introduced in July 2013 the option to use certified, compostable plastic bags to line the green bins in an effort to increase green bin participation rates.
More information about the Region's waste diversion programs can be found through the following internet link: http://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/aboutTheEnvironment/waste2.asp