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Waste Diverted From the Landfill

“Divert 70% of waste from the Saskatoon landfill” measures our success in environmental stewardship.  The target means that more of Saskatoon’s waste will be recycled, reused, or composted instead of going to the landfill. 

How are we doing?

In 2016, the City’s Waste Diversion Rate was 21.8%, slightly up from 21.0% in 2015. The City calculates the Waste Diversion Rate based on City run diversion and disposal programs. It does not include reduction, reuse, recycling or disposal through non-City programs, such as beverage containers, e-waste or nearby landfills. The Waste Characterization Study conducted in 2016 included sampling from key areas of municipal solid waste. Information from the study will be used in a variety of waste-related communications efforts planned for 2017.

Data Table
Saskatoon Waste Diversion Rate
  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 ...2023
Diversion Rate Target (%) 15.0 19.6 17.3 18.4 22.7 22.5 21.0 21.8 70


The target measures our success in environmental stewardship through increasing the percentage of waste that is recycled, reused, or composted.
Waste Diversion Rate =            Total waste diverted          
                                           Total waste (diverted + landfill)
“Total waste diverted” includes the amount of waste diverted through City of Saskatoon programs including the multi-unit residential program and does not include reduction, reuse, or recycling through non-City recyclers such as Sarcan. “Total waste” includes the amount of “Total waste diverted” plus the waste that goes to the City of Saskatoon landfill. Waste going to third party landfills is not included.

How are other cities doing?

Different jurisdictions have varying ways of defining and reporting their waste diversion and total waste which makes comparisons with other cities challenging. For instance, Edmonton only reports residential waste diversion (52%) and the rate includes an estimate of residential composting, grass-cycling and reuse that does not enter the City of Edmonton’s waste handling system. Other cities have set waste diversion targets ranging from 50% to 90% with 2020 being a common target date.


2016 Waste Diversion Rates

Calgary (2015)   
Edmonton (Residential Only)   
32.0% 52.0% 20.0% 32.9%


What do we need to do to achieve this target?

In 2023, approximately 200,300 tonnes of waste are expected. To reduce the amount going to the landfill to 60,000, the following is required:

  • Current programs will divert up to 46,300 tonnes or approximately 23% of waste by 2023.
  • Proposed new programs will divert an additional 74,000 tonnes or 37% of total waste when fully implemented.
  • Additional programs need to be identified to divert another 20,000 tonnes or 10% of waste to reach 70%.
Current Programs Tonnes Diverted in 2016 Potential Tonnes Diverted by 2023
Curbside Recycling (single family) 9,767 16,800
Multi-Unit Recycling 1,721 3,500
Compost Depot 11,209 20,000
Green Cart (Leaves & Grass) Program 2,470 3,500
Recycling Depots 1,721 2,000
Household Hazardous Waste Days 101 300
Outgoing Recyclable Material from Landfill   627 -
Public Space Recycling 5 200
Total 27,101 46,340


Proposed New Programs Potential Tonnes Diverted by 2023
Recovery Park 22,000
Food Waste Program 12,000
Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Recycling 8,500
Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Food Waste 9,500
New Programs to be Determined 22,000
Total 74,000


What are the benefits of achieving the target?

Waste diversion provides economic, environmental, and social benefits:

  • Significant future costs to build a new landfill will be postponed or avoided. If waste is not diverted, a new landfill will be necessary within 50 years at an estimated cost of $180 million.
  • Landfill operating costs and the market value for land are $90 per cubic meter or approximately $4 million per year (2009 valuation).
  • Recycling conserves raw materials and saves energy.
  • In 2015, the City’s current waste diversion programs reduce CO2e by approximately 41,092 tonnes annually (equivalent to removing 8,000 vehicles from our roadways each year).
  • Waste diversion programs create local jobs and provide skills and learning opportunities for more than 400 adults with intellectual disabilities.


What are the risks?
  • Achieving the target will require changes in what people send to the landfill. Changing attitudes and habits towards waste disposal may take more time. 

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