Durham Region Long-Term Waste Planning

Durham waste bins

Durham Region Long-Term Waste Planning

Sustainable Long-Term Solid Waste Planning with a Circular Economy Focus

The Region of Durham in Ontario, Canada, an eight-municipality area located east of Toronto, has long been on the forefront of sustainable waste practices. To assist in mapping its Long-term Waste Management Plan through 2040, Durham brought us on to serve as the lead consultant, with a focus on reducing waste and using waste as a resource. 

Our team helped define strategy objectives and reviewed the Region’s existing policies and programs, identifying gaps in managing the waste stream. For example, more than 40% of the waste generated could be diverted through existing programs, like composting or electronics recycling. We also considered:

  • Durham’s population, which is projected to nearly double from almost 680,000 to more than 1 million by 2041. 
  • Shrinking household sizes, from 3.5 people in 1976 to 2.8 people in 2016.  
  • An increase in multi-family housing. 
  • A need for cost effective and accessible waste management services. 

The approved plan leverages the concept of waste as a resource, meaning waste is captured and reused in materials, products or power generation. Durham will target a 10% increase in organic waste diversion and expansion of programs to manage more materials. There is an emphasis on community awareness around existing programs and the 5Rs — rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle and recover. 

Durham also outlined a plan for working with businesses to implement Extended Producer Responsibility — which holds companies financially and operationally responsible for managing their products — and adjust waste programs accordingly.

Our strategic communications team created an easy-to-understand executive summary, and continues to work with Durham to promote public awareness about the long-term plan and existing waste programs available to residents. 

This project builds upon a long-term partnership with Durham Region. We served as owner’s engineer for the Durham York Energy Centre, an energy-from-waste facility that plays a key role in the waste management plan. 

Durham waste bins
Durham Region