Saskatchewan releases new waste reduction strategy

Saskatchewan is releasing a new solid waste management strategy aimed at reducing the amount of items going into the landfill.

The province currently has the second highest amount of waste per capita in Canada with residents producing 842 kilograms of waste per person annually. The strategy lays out six goals for reducing waste 30 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040.

Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said the goals include:

  • Enhance education, awareness and technical understanding of waste management best practices and the risks of improper practices across Saskatchewan.
  • Encourage regional collaboration to enhance the cost effectiveness of waste management infrastructure.
  • Foster innovative and sustainable solutions to manage waste.
  • Demonstrate government leadership in waste management.
  • Provide a modern, efficient and effective regulatory system for waste disposal and management.
  • Enhance waste diversion across Saskatchewan.

“We are doing a lot of work with communities and with our partners at SUMA and SARM and the federal government in trying to access some federal/provincial dollars to help with some of those costs communities are baring right now whether it comes to enhancing some of the existing programs or in some cases closing down landfills in some of our smaller communities,” said Duncan.

He said there is value to the waste that ends up in our landfills, whether that be diverting them to recycling or harnessing the organic waste. “Over time, as those organic materials break down they produce methane and release methane. We’re trying as a province to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are going into our atmosphere, including methane emissions. There is innovation that there is a potential, that we are starting to see in Saskatchewan, of potentially capturing that methane and and turning it into a useful product, like an energy product.”

Duncan said recycling is important and the next step is solid waste management in households. He added that the province wants to work with communities and residents to figure out what their goals are in reducing the amount of waste in their homes, “or reducing the amount that goes into the landfills. I would say in many ways we are leaders when it comes to the amount of waste, particularly with our recycling programs, we want to get better though. We know there are other areas we can get better.”

“It’s no secret that waste is an issue in Saskatchewan and around the world,” Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee Chair Richard Porter said. “this strategy is a significant start and will help our province develop policies and programs to address the number of ongoing challenges related to waste and management.”

At this point the strategy doesn’t provide a method for attaining its goals, but it will begin with a review of current municipal paper and recycling programs. New landfill levies and recycling fees will be considered, but the strategy doesn’t currently have it in its recommendations.

Click here to view the entire strategy.

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