Every year local governments in Canada spend approximately $3.2 billion managing 34 million tonnes of waste, according to Statistics Canada.
Waste generation is a global problem and Canada is among the worst offenders, producing more garbage per capita than 16 other OECD nations, according to the Conference Board of Canada. It’s time to do something about it and the solution is not better waste management but waste prevention.
Waste prevention consists of actions that prevent or reduce waste from being created in the first place. This concept and its role in the circular economy is not well understood in Canada. To address this gap, the National Zero Waste Council commissioned a first of its kind report identifying fifteen waste prevention interventions for six important economic sectors in Canada and estimating the impacts resulting from these interventions.
Waste Prevention: The Environmental and Economic Benefits for Canada articulates the environmental, social and economic benefits of implementing waste prevention interventions in the construction, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, plastics and retail sectors. The waste prevention best practices featured in the report could have profound impacts on the environment and economy. These interventions have the potential to prevent 5 million tonnes of CO2e emissions and 4.9 million tonnes of waste per year (including 1.1 million tonnes of plastics) while creating about 20,000 jobs and $41 billion in additional revenue.