Waste management in Canada - A $5.6 Billion industry

The waste
management industry in Canada handled just
over 34 million tonnes of waste in 2008. This amount
translates into about 1,031 kilograms of waste per
Canadian according to recent figures released by Statistics

Of this total, the quantity of waste sent to public and private
waste disposal facilities was 25.9 million tonnes,
practically unchanged since 2006.

The remaining 8.5 million tonnes was sent for
recycling or composting, up 9.7% from 2006. About
one-third of waste for disposal came from residential sources,
while the other two-thirds came from non-residential sources.

The amount of residential waste disposal fell by 4.0% 
from 2006 to 8.5 million tonnes in 2008.
Meanwhile, the amount of non-residential waste rose by 1.8%
to 17.3 million tonnes.

Quantity of waste sent for disposal fell in most

Between 2006 and 2008, the quantity of waste sent
for disposal increased in three provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan
and Alberta. Saskatchewan recorded the biggest increase in the
amount of waste disposed, with an 8.3% change. On the other
hand, New Brunswick had the biggest decrease (-6.3%).

On a per capita basis, Alberta sent the most waste for disposal
in 2008, the equivalent of just over 1.1 tonnes per
person. Conversely, Nova Scotia sent 378 kilograms per
person for disposal.

The high per capita disposal rates in Alberta were largely the
result of non-residential waste disposal. In terms of residential
waste, per capita disposal in Alberta was close to the national

Waste diversion: Largest increase in

Nationally, the quantity of materials diverted from disposal for
recycling or composting increased by about 10%
from 2006 to 2008.

Electronic waste recycling recorded the biggest increase
(+115%). This was followed by plastic materials, which rose
by 40%.

Local governments spending more on waste

Local governments spent about $2.6 billion on waste
management in 2008, up from $2.1 billion two years
earlier. Provincially, municipalities that spent more money per
capita on waste management reported diverting greater amounts of
waste per person.

Business sector operating revenues rose 13%
to $5.8 billion between 2006 and 2008.
Operating expenditures incurred by waste management firms
increased 19% to $5.1 billion. Just
over 31,000 people were employed full-time in the waste
management industry in both the government and business sectors
in 2008.

More information is available on CANSIM: tables
title=”CANSIM tables 153-0041 to 153-0045”>153-0041 to

The publication Waste Management Industry
Survey: Business and Government Sectors
, 2008 (href=”http://www.statcan.gc.ca/cgi-bin/IPS/display?cat_num=16F0023X”
target=”_blank” title=”Catalogue number 16F0023X”>16F0023X,
free), is now available from the Key
module of the Statistics Canada website under class=”hp1”>Publications, choose All
, then Environment. A href=”http://www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/cst01/envir32a-eng.htm”
target=”_blank”>data table is also available from the class=”hp1”>Key resource module of the Statistics Canada
website under Summary tables.

Disposal of waste by source,
province and territory, 2008
 Residential proportion of
Non-residential proportion of
Residential sources per capitaNon-residential sources per

Newfoundland and
Prince Edward Islandxxxx
Nova Scotia4258158220
New Brunswick4951313329
British Columbia3466219422
Yukon, Northwest
Territories and Nunavut

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