February 12, 2007

Waste diversion in Canada shows 18% increase as growth in disposal held to 5%, StatsCan reports

Canadian businesses and households generated over 33 million tonnes of non-hazardous solid waste in 2004 and diverted 24% of this total, on a national basis. This was a 5% increase over 2002 in waste disposed and a healthy 18% increase in waste diversion, according to figures just released by Statistics Canada in its latest Waste Management Industry Survey: Business and Government Sectors.

Nova Scotia had the nation's highest waste diversion rate, at 36%, followed by Prince Edward Island at 35% and British Columbia at 31%. Diversion rates in Ontario and Quebec, the leading waste generators, reached 22.5% and nearly 26%, respectively. They were followed by Manitoba and Alberta, both with 20% diversion rates.

More than 7.8 million tonnes of non-hazardous material were processed for recycling in 2004, notes the report. Paper fibres and organic material made up nearly two-thirds of the total, accounting for 42% and 21%, respectively. Within material categories, plastics and organic materials showed the largest increases in collection: plastics were up by 31%, organic materials by 27%.

Per-capita disposal of non-hazardous solid waste rose from 769 kilograms in 2002 to 791 kg in 2004, an increase of 22 kg, or just under 3% on a national basis. This includes material sent to landfills or for incineration in Canada, as well as material exported to another country for disposal. Not surprisingly, Nova Scotia had the lowest per-capita disposal rate, at 427 kg per capita, while Alberta reported the highest disposal rate, at 968 kg per capita.

At the same time, says StatsCan, Canadians' per-capita diversion rate rose by 15%, from 212 to 246 kg, nationwide. Jurisdictions for which figures are reported showed per-capita increases in diversion ranging from less than 1% (British Columbia) to 20% and 25% (Quebec and Ontario, respectively).

Reporting on the waste management industry in Canada, the report shows 60 fewer businesses operating in this sector in 2004 than in 2002. Revenues generated by these businesses rose by 5% between 2002 and 2004, totalling $4.3 billion for 2004. Their operating expenses, however, increased by almost 10% during the same period, reaching almost $3.8 billion in 2004. Capital expenditures totalling over $307 million in 2004 were down 9% from 2002.

The report also notes that government and public waste management agencies generated over $951 million from waste management activities in 2004. Their expenditures on waste management activities rose to $1.9 billion in 2004, an increase of 23% from 2002. By specific activity, the operation of composting facilities showed the largest single increase, with expenditures in this area up by 54% between 2002 and 2004.

At the same time, StatsCan has also just released data on revenues generated by Canada's environment industry as a whole, including sales of environmental technologies and services. Included are figures for 2004, as well as revised figures for 2002. The tables cover revenues by industry, revenues by province/territory, revenues by establishment size, export revenues by industry group and destination, and export revenues by type of good or service.

Revenues for 2004 from the export of environmental goods totalled $1.245 billion in 2004, with environmental services adding $256 million, for a combined total of $1.5 billion, up from $1.37 billion in 2002. More than 1,100 establishments reported export revenues, with the largest proportion (nearly $1.17 billion) to the U.S. In 2004, Canada also exported over $110 million worth of environmental goods and services to Europe, nearly $65 million worth to China and Japan, nearly $37 million worth to other Asian countries, $31.5 million to South America and nearly $33 million worth to Mexico and other Central American countries. More detailed data, plus an analysis, will be available in March.

More information is available on the Statistics Canada Web site, www.statcan.ca.

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