Community

Region achieves highest waste diversion rate in Ontario

York Region achieved 94 per cent waste diversion from landfill last year – the highest rate in the province.

That total, which includes all waste collection through local municipal curbside programs, waste depot diversion programs and energy from waste, exceeds Council’s goal of 90 per cent diversion from landfill for the seventh consecutive year.

“York Region continues showcasing its unwavering commitment to waste reduction and diversion,” Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson says. “With each passing year, we steadfastly pursue our vision of a world where nothing goes to waste, setting a remarkable example for communities far and wide and a sustainable future for our residents.”

According to the 2023 Annual Waste Management Report, which summarizes York’s diversion and waste reduction initiatives and highlights progress made on implementing the Integrated Waste Management Master Plan (SM4RT Living Plan), the Region successfully navigated legislative changes, including preparing for the Blue Box Program transition to full producer responsibility and finding alternatives to single-use items.

It also used resources and infrastructure more strategically to achieve SM4RT Living, including contracting construction and operation of a state-of-the-art biofuel facility to manage organics and produce renewable natural gas. It also inspired people across York Region to embrace SM4RT Living and advance the circular economy through the Circular Economy Initiatives Fund and helping businesses reduce reliance on single-use items.

York monitors progress towards waste reduction targets set in the SM4RT Living Plan by tracking amounts of waste households put out at the curb. A total of 44,640 tonnes of blue box materials were sorted and marketed to be made into new products; 105,479 tonnes of green bin organics were processed into compost, biogas and fertilizer; and 41,978 tonnes of leaf and yard waste were composted. Also, 1,197 tonnes of household hazardous waste were safely managed, and 861 tonnes of electronic waste were recycled, the Region reports.

“York Region and local municipalities are making strong progress on all goals in the waste management report,” says David West, Chair of Public Works – Environmental Services. “We are expanding efforts to reuse and repair items, helping shift towards a circular economy and securing long-term organics processing locally.”

The SM4RT Living Plan sets the stage for waste diversion and prevention in York Region to 2059 and beyond with the visionary goal of a world in which nothing goes to waste. Created in 2013, it was updated in 2020 with the objective to advance the circular economy and commits to the “4Rs” waste hierarchy: Reduce the amount of waste generated, reuse items instead of discarding them, recycle as many materials as possible into new products, and recover energy from waste that cannot be managed in other ways.

Learn more about York’s programs to help reduce waste at york.ca/Waste.

 

Photo: Elgin Mills Community Environmental Centre. 

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