Canada is one of the most wasteful nations in the world, according to the World Bank. And among Canadian provinces, Saskatchewan finds itself at the back of the pack, second-worst in the country, according to the provincial government. It’s a problem Saskatchewan hopes will be addressed by the just-released “Saskatchewan’s Solid Waste Management Strategy”.
Saskatchewan hopes the strategy will put it on a path to reach the Canada-wide aspirational goal endorsed in 2018 by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment: reducing waste generated per person by 30 per cent by 2030, and 50 per cent by 2040 from 2014 baseline levels. For Saskatchewan to pick up its proportional share, it will mean reducing waste from the current level of 842 kg per person to 589 kg per person by 2030, and 421 kg per person by 2040.
The strategy is intended to guide solid waste management for the next 20 years. “The status quo is unsustainable and the province needs a comprehensive and strategic action plan to address the unique challenges posed by solid waste management,” said Environment Minister Dustin Duncan in a release.
The strategy sets six goals:
- enhance education, awareness and technical understanding of waste management best practices
- encourage regional collaboration to enhance cost effectiveness
- foster innovative and sustainable solutions
- demonstrate government leadership in waste management
- provide a modern, efficient and effective regulatory system
- enhance waste diversion.
In support of these goals, the strategy includes commitments, some of which are restatements of existing policies and initiatives. Among the new commitments are:
- providing cost-shared grants to support non-capital activities associated with pursuing regional work (e.g., governance capacity, consultations)
- collaborating with municipalities to review and assess barriers to participation in regional solutions and identify options to reduce them
- finalizing (by April 2020) a composting guidance document and updating all landfill and waste management guidance documents
- developing Saskatchewan Environmental Code chapters for transfer stations and composting facilities for implementation in 2022-23
- engaging with stakeholders on strategies to reduce food waste and non-residential waste
- exploring the benefits of a landfill levy similar to Manitoba’s $10 per tonne Waste Reduction and Recycling Support Levy.
The first order of business will be to complete the review of The Municipal Refuse Management Regulations (R.R.S., c. E-10.2, Reg. 4). In fiscal year 2020-21, it will review government procurement policies and start a review of all stewardship programs, adding to them as appropriate.