Canadians generate 2% less waste than in 2002

By: Shazia Nazir, Local Journalism Initiative
Canadians now generate less waste on a per-person basis than we did in 2002 despite a prospering economy.  The stat is among the findings from a study released last month by the Fraser Institute.
“While Canada’s population and economy have grown, the proportion of waste we generate has actually declined,” said Elmira Aliakbari, director of the Centre for Natural Resource Studies at the Fraser Institute co-authored the study entitled:  Generation and Management of Municipal Solid Waste: How’s Canada Doing?
The study finds that Canadians generated 21 fewer  kilograms of municipal solid waste (MSW)  such as food scraps, on a per-person basis in 2018 compared to 980 kilograms in 2002.
While overall per-person waste generation is declining, waste from residential sources is rising. It now comprises more than 40 percent of total waste generation. “The reduction in Canada’s overall waste production is clearly being driven by reductions in the business sector,” commented Aliakbari. Waste generation from non-residential sources such as industrial, and commercial  declined between 2002 and 2018.
Most provinces recorded a reduction in waste generation over the same period. Notable per-person MSW generation reductions occurred in Manitoba (9% decrease), British Columbia (7%), Ontario (5%,) and Quebec (3%). “The fact that Canada has generated less per person waste since 2002, despite a growing economy, is good news for the environment,” Aliakbari said.