The Most Wasteful Country in the World Part 2

Waste Management and Diversion

So in the last bit we found out that Canada was actually an incredibly wasteful country compared to the rest of the world. And while the title of "probably the most wasteful country in the world" stirs up a mental image of Canadian's just throwing garbage willy-nilly out the window, it isn't actually all that bad. Canadians do manage to put most of their garbage into the appropriate containers. Of that approximately 25 million tonnes of municipal solid waste that residences in Canada generate, 8.5 million tonnes will be diverted from land fills in the form of recycling and composting. That's about 34%, not too shabby. 

But still not without a lot of room for improvement. As you can see, most of what comprises the pile of garbage that Canada makes could end up somewhere besides a land fill. Only a chunk of materials that could otherwise have been diverted actually end up being diverted. I venture a guess this is due to the fact that Canada has a lot of excess space and this is probably reflected in the mentality of the country's denizens. To be fair in a country so large, and mostly uninhabited, the costs of creating a new land fill are probably lower than creating a new recycling or waste-to-energy plant. I suppose 34% is better than nothing.
 
Let's take a look at what comprises that 34% recycling rate.
That mountain on the right is pretty big, eh? I think it really gets the point across about how much isn't being diverted. Certainly there's a significant amount of simple to recycle things like paper and metal in that garbage mountain, but what about materials and objects that are a little more difficult to recycle? The kinds of items that once you can't use them anymore you're left looking at them and scratching your head thinking "uhhh, where does this go?"
This one is actually pretty decent. Only dead batteries, light bulbs, and some medication really end up in the garbage. And nobody is pouring paint down the sink. Or at least no one would admit to the survey that they'd poured paint down the sink because you'd have to be some special kind of stupid to do it.
 
You can see a good chunk of all of these objects are either dropped off, returned, or just left sitting around people's houses. I'm sure we all have the odd old electronic device just lying around the house because we weren't sure what to do with it, felt bad throwing it away, or we were too lazy to take it to the drop-off centre. Well, it's better than ending up buried in some land fill.
 
Let's get to the real test though. We compare Canada's diversion rate to other wealthy countries. Then suddenly again just like that last time we compared Canada to other countries, the number we had that didn't seem so bad starts to make Canada look not so good.
Hey, just an odd thing, did you notice how the 4 worst are all English speaking? Is there some kind of correlation between countries that speak English as a first language and not diverting more garbage from landfills? Bizarre.
 
Well at least in this case it seems as if Canada isn't the outright worst. There's a handful of other first world nations that aren't the best at putting garbage in places that aren't a land fill. Though "We aren't the absolute worst, just among them" definitely isn't a boasting point. 
 
Sources:

 

Sign Up For RGS Updates