Waste has significant consequences for GHGs. When organic material is disposed of in landfills, they break down into methane, which is 25 times more damaging to our climate than carbon dioxide. We account for some of that methane in our community inventory, but this only reflects what has been landfilled at our local public landfills (residential waste that is collected through the Region’s curbside collection program).
Waste from businesses and multi-residential buildings with more than six units is arranged and paid for privately, without involvement from the Region or Area Municipalities. Much of this commercial waste leaves the community and is sent to landfills elsewhere. Since this process is arranged by landlords, condominiums, and businesses, we do not know how much waste is produced locally, where it goes, or whether GHG-emitting organics have been removed before the waste is landfilled.
Additionally, and what we cannot fully account for locally, is the energy used in making the things that we consume, and transporting it to us and eventually to the landfill or recycling centre.
Reducing our energy use and reducing our energy emissions relies on us using less, and building a circular economy (using items as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them, and recovering, repurposing, and/or regenerating new products).