Saskatoon unveils uncosted plan to divert 70% of waste from landfill – Global News

The City of Saskatoon administration unveiled a roadmap to divert 70 per cent of waste going to the city’s landfill by the end of the decade.

The ‘Solid Waste Reduction and Diversion Plan’ lists 24 programs to reach that goal, increasing recycling, implementing landfill disposal bans and food waste reduction programs.

“The plan [uses] what we call in my world ‘the waste management hierarchy’ but you know it very well as the three Rs, ‘reduce, reuse, recycle,’” Jeanna South, the city’s sustainability director, told reporters.

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Speaking over Zoom, South said the city only diverted 24 per cent of waste from the landfill in 2019. City council voted in 2015 to increase that number to 70 per cent by 2023.

She said Saskatoon won’t meet that date but could achieve the targeted reduction by 2030 if council votes to enact enough programs on the list.

“It’s too soon to carry forward a comprehensive lists of costs around the 24 actions simply because we need to work more carefully on those higher priority items to better understand what the scope and the resource needs would be,” she said.

City council already approved three — the curbside organics program, the recovery park recycling and waste facility, and the industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) guidelines that govern how businesses dispose of their refuse.

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South said she expects the three programs to increase the amount of diverted waste to at least 41 per cent and at most 54 per cent.

The other actions would divert as much as 79 per cent, she said — if council approves them.

South stressed the plan offers a potential route to reducing waste. The remaining actions have not yet come before city council.

To that end, South couldn’t say how much the plan could cost, estimate the economic impact on the city or say how any of the actions could affect the lifespan of the Saskatoon landfill.

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The impacts, she said, would become clearer as the programs were developed.

She touted the effect of recent initiatives, like the subscription green carts, and said a better waste management strategy would mean a higher quality of life for residents.

She said the plan involves introducing incentives to see better sorting of waste, that the city could potentially see “a multi-unit residential organics program, a bulky waste program and then, potentially, a textile diversion program.”

South said compliance with the new measures would depend on the city providing data and education for residents to explain the need and benefits of properly sorting garbage and recycling.

The plan is scheduled to come before the Standing Committee on the Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services on Monday.

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