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York Region waste levels stabilize after pandemic increase

Region and its municipalities, including Newmarket, slightly exceeded a goal to divert 90 per cent of waste from landfills in 2021
2022 03 23 garbage
File photo

After waste generation temporarily soared during the pandemic, York Region is reporting it slightly exceeded a goal to divert 90 per cent of waste from landfills last year.

York Region and its nine municipalities achieved 92 per cent diversion from landfills in 2021, including all waste collected through local curbside programs, depot diversion programs and energy-from-waste efforts, according to the annual waste management report.

Without including energy-from-waste tallies, the diversion rate in 2021 was 65 per cent, in accordance with the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) requirements. York Region and its cities and towns have ranked first in the RPRA large urban category for nearly a decade.

Highlights from the 2021 annual waste management report include: 

  • Waste generation rates stabilized following sharp increases in 2020 due to the pandemic. Items residents would normally bring 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;
  • 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;
  • 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.

Despite increased costs and waste generated during the pandemic, York Region continued to deliver its waste management programs and services at about $300 per household per year or less than $1 per day, according to the report.