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Canadian households create 13.4 million tonnes of municipal waste. To give you some sort of idea how much this is, think of 13 million pickup trucks. 73% of that waste was put in landfills and the other 27% was recovered through recycling efforts. Since this study was conducted in 2004, the amount of waste recovered has slowly been rising. Recently in my hometown Calgary, there have been large efforts to increase recycling. Some of these improvements include a residential blue bin pick up service. Homeowners now do not need to sort their recycling. They simply put all recyclables in one bin, which is then picked up from their driveway. This service is not applicable to every area in Calgary yet, but there are large recycling deposit containers where people can come and dump their recycling. All of this recycling has lead to some major monetary gains for the Alberta region. The Alberta government has reported an $180,000+ gain from recycling beverage containers. Calgary’s recycling program is not a new idea; it has been implemented in many other countries. The reason why Calgary adopted it so late is unknown.
The United States has increased its paper recovery to an impressive 53.4%. Meaning that of all paper sold in the U.S.A over 50% is recovered although the U.S. is still not the best yet. They still produce approximately 251 million tonnes of municipal waste, of which 82 million tonnes is recovered. To do the math, that is an average of 32% waste recycled. The leading country in the EU, Switzerland, has an impressive 52% recovery rate of all waste. When the U.S.A or Canada is compared to this statistic, it seems we still have a lot to learn.
On a worldwide perspective today’s top five recycling countries are:
So with the above in mind...
What are your thoughts on improvements that we can take to increase these numbers?
 Babooram, A.V. & Wang, J.W. (2008, November 21). Recycling in canada. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/16-002-x/2007001/article/10174-eng.htm#1 Unknown. (2010, March 05). Blue bin recycling faq. Retrieved from http://www.calgary.ca/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_780_237_0_43/http%3B/content.calgary.ca/CCA/City+Hall/Business+Units/Waste+and+Recycling+Services/Recycling+Information/Residential+Services/Blue+Cart+Recycling/Blue+Cart+Recycling+FAQ.htm
Unknown. (2010, March 05). Blue bin recycling faq. Retrieved from http://www.calgary.ca/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_780_237_0_43/http%3B/content.calgary.ca/CCA/City+Hall/Business+Units/Waste+and+Recycling+Services/Recycling+Information/Residential+Services/Blue+Cart+Recycling/Blue+Cart+Recycling+FAQ.htm
Unknown. (2009, June 22). City cashing in on refundables could reduce recycling fee. CBC News, Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/06/19/refundables-recycling-fee-blue-calgary.html#socialcomments
 Williams, A.W. (2008, August 22). Recycling by the numbers: the good, bad and ugly of statistics and comparisons. Retrieved from http://blog.sustainablog.org/recycling-by-the-numbers-the-good-bad-and-ugly-of-statistics-and-comparisons/
 Williams, M.W. (2010, April 27). Recycling statistics. Green News, Retrieved from http://environmentalpictures.blogspot.com/2010/04/recycling-statistics.html