Canadian Waste Management Statistics Show Recycling on the Rise

Over 34 million tonnes of waste was handled in Canada handled during 2008 according to figures released by Statistics Canada - about 1031 kg of waste per Canadian.

7 January 2011

Over 34 million tonnes of waste was handled in Canada handled during 2008 according to figures released by Statistics Canada - that translates to about 1031 kg of waste per Canadian.

The quantity of waste sent to public and private waste disposal facilities was 25.9 million tonnes, practically unchanged since 2006.

The remaining 8.5 million tonnes was sent for recycling or composting, up 9.7% from 2006. About one-third of waste for disposal came from residential sources, while the other two-thirds came from non-residential sources.

The amount of residential waste disposal fell by 4.0% from 2006 to 8.5 million tonnes in 2008. Meanwhile, the amount of non-residential waste rose by 1.8% to 17.3 million tonnes.

Quantity of waste sent for disposal fell in most provinces

According to Statistics Canada, between 2006 and 2008, the quantity of waste sent for disposal increased in three provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Saskatchewan recorded the biggest increase in the amount of waste disposed, with an 8.3% change. On the other hand, New Brunswick had the biggest decrease (-6.3%).

On a per capita basis, Alberta sent the most waste for disposal in 2008, the equivalent of just over 1.1 tonnes per person. Conversely, Nova Scotia sent 378 kg per person for disposal.

The high per capita disposal rates in Alberta were largely the result of non-residential waste disposal. In terms of residential waste, per capita disposal in Alberta was close to the national average.

Nationally, the quantity of materials diverted from disposal for recycling or composting increased by about 10% from 2006 to 2008.

Electronic waste recycling recorded the biggest increase (+115%). This was followed by plastic materials, which rose by 40%.

Local governments spending more on waste management

Local governments spent about $2.6 billion on waste management in 2008, up from $2.1 billion two years earlier. Provincially, municipalities that spent more money per capita on waste management reported diverting greater amounts of waste per person.

Business sector operating revenues rose 13% to $5.8 billion between 2006 and 2008. Operating expenditures incurred by waste management firms increased 19% to $5.1 billion. Just over 31,000 people were employed full-time in the waste management industry in both the government and business sectors in 2008.