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York achieves highest waste diversion from landfill

York Region has once again exceeded waste diversion goals, achieving 92 per cent diversion from landfill last year.

That’s two per cent higher than the goal set out in the Regional Official Plan and the region’s highest diversion rate to date.

That includes all waste collected through local municipal curbside programs, depot diversion programs and energy-from-waste efforts.

In 2021, York Region reported 65 per cent diversion in accordance with the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA), the regulator mandated by the Government of Ontario to enforce the province’s circular economy laws. It doesn’t recognize energy-from-waste efforts. Since 2012, the Region and its local municipalities have ranked first in the RPRA large urban category.

(The Durham York Energy Centre produces energy from the combustion of garbage. It processes 140,000 tonnes per year of residential garbage that remains after maximizing waste diversion programs – reducing, reusing, recycling and composting – in York Region and Durham Region.)

Also, according to York’s 2021 Annual Waste Management Report, waste generation rates have stabilized following steep increases in 2020 due to the pandemic, when items residents typically take to and dispose of at school, work or in the community were largely being used at home and put into residential waste collection programs.

Curbside green bin volume increased slightly, with a small decrease in the garbage volume. Depot usage continued to grow, with more than 309,000 visitors using depots to safely recycle or dispose of unwanted items, including 1,365 tonnes of household hazardous waste and 1,085 tonnes of electronic waste.

Also, 55,000 tonnes of recyclables collected through the Blue Box program were sold to end markets to be made into new products such as newsprint, cardboard, beverage containers, plastic lumber and carpet.

Despite increased costs and waste generated during the pandemic, York Region reports that it continued to deliver its waste management programs and services at about $300 per household per year. Visit york.ca/waste to learn more about the SM4RT Living Plan, York’s integrated waste management master plan.

It sets the stage for waste diversion and prevention in York Region to 2059 and beyond with a visionary goal of a world in which nothing goes to waste. The plan commits to the 4Rs: reduce the amount of waste generated in the region, 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.

Find waste programs and services at york.ca/waste.

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