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Recycling Around the World: Canada

Recycling Around the World: Canada

Recycling Around the World A-Z


There is concern in Canada about landfill sites almost being at full capacity, and they are simply running out of space for new ones. Landfill produces 25% of the methane emissions Canada produces year on year, so recycling is becoming a popular way of reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill and helping to save natural resources.

Canadians are now recycling more than ever before, due to improvement in access to recycling programmes that began in the 1990’s.

Between 2000 and 2004, residential waste production increased by 2.1 million tonnes due to a rise in the population, though this was largely dealt with by increased recycling rates. 2/3 of the extra waste was recycled while the other third was sent to landfill or incinerators.

Recycling in Canada

Differences in access to recycling across regions

Recycling rates in Canada have risen overall, but rates still vary between the different provinces. Ontario and Quebec recycle the most materials, but the amount recycled per person is higher in Nova Scotia and British Columbia.

Access to recycling programmes explains the differences between the provinces, though overall, access to recycling facilities is not bad. 80% of households have access to glass and paper recycling facilities, 87% have access to a plastic recycling scheme, and 86% have access to a scheme for recycling metal cans.

Differences across property types

Research shows that Canadians who live in detached homes are more likely to have access to recycling facilities and services than those who live in mobile homes or apartments.

96% of residents in detached properties have access to recycling services compared to 90% of those living in mobile

homes, and 85% of people living in apartments.

Good practice


New recycling programmes introduced across Canada have given residents more options for recycling plastic. Canada now has the highest rate of access to plastic recycling services since records began. 61% of Canadians now have access to a plastic recycling scheme, and efforts are being made to increase this further, to reduce the amount going to landfill. Education programmes which inform residents about the types of plastic that can be recycled have also contributed to the increase in plastic recycling.

Plastic Recycling


Electronics go out of date very fast these days, as technology advances at a lightning pace. There’s usually an age- old choice between storing unwanted or broken electronics in your garage or spare room, or sending them to landfill. But Canadians have a plethora of options on where to send their electronics for recycling.

The manufacturer might recycle it for free. Dell Canada run a free home computer recycling programme. Lenovo Canada recycle any computers, notebooks or monitors manufactured by them after 2005.

There might be an electronics recycling programme in the area. Alberta provides electronics recycling to residents. They established the programme in 2004 and there are now 180 collection sites across the province where residents can take computers, printers, and televisions for recycling. This programme is funded by an environmental fee that is levied on electronics at the time of purchase.

Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia have all followed in Alberta’s footsteps.

Computers can also be donated to the Computers for Schools programme, which refurbishes computers and gives them to schools and libraries. They can also be given to charity or any other not-for-profit organisation.

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