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2000 Waste — Co-winner 2

London, Ontario

Improvement System for Waste Management

Population: 336,539

Recycling is worth it. Certainly citizens think so - but how to prove it? Which waste reduction and diversion measures are most effective? What is the best way to move forward when there are constraints imposed by old decisions, scarce tax dollars, provincial downloading and tougher regulations?

"We found that citizens were increasing their demands for a greater say in how their environment was going to be protected," said Dianne Haskett, then Mayor of London, in 1999. "Businesses were looking at materials within municipal solid waste as a resource rather than just garbage and some of our past projects ... were making the news as environmental nightmares."

Results

Through many small, systematically chosen improvements, Londoners now generate 35 per cent less waste than 10 years ago, recycle 20 per cent more than two years ago and in 1999 kept an additional 5,000 tonnes of waste out of their landfill site through composting and re-use. Greenhouse gas emissions fell by over 20 per cent. This was accomplished within an integrated waste management budget of less than $85 per household, one of the lowest in North America. For the year 2000, citizens and council accepted a budget of $90 per household to support an expanded recycling program, because the IWM software so clearly quantified its environmental benefits.

Page Updated: 21/12/2015