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Study Identifies Economic and Environmental Impacts of 20 Years of Recycling in Nova Scotia

For 20 years, Divert NS has been working with Nova Scotians and waste diversion partners to foster a culture of recycling in our beautiful province. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of recycling in Nova Scotia, Divert NS engaged Gardner Pinfold to conduct an independent Economic and Environmental Impact Study of RRFB Nova Scotia’s Programs.

The key findings are as follows.

Economic Highlights:
  • Jobs: Now 794 jobs (person-years) in Nova Scotia each year related to beverage container and used tire recycling, and the equivalent of 12,405 full-time jobs created over 20 years.
  • Income: Now $27.9 million in salaries and wages each year related to beverage container and used tire recycling, and $423 million earned over 20 years.
  • Avoided collection costs: Beverage container and used tire recycling saves $5.1 million in collection costs annually totaling $81.3 million over 20 years.
  • Avoided landfill costs: Beverage container and used tire recycling saves $2.0 million in municipal landfill-related costs annually totaling $32 million over 20 years.
Environmental Highlights
  • Avoided landfill space: Landfill space saved by recycling beverage containers and used tires grew from 4,733 m3 in 1997 to 14,921 m3 in 2016. The 20-year total space saved is over 242,000 m3, equivalent to 97 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
  • GHGs avoided: Recycling beverage containers and used tires in Nova Scotia saves 40,959 tonnes of GHG emissions each year, equivalent to removing 6,158 cars from the road – or 97,000 cars off the road over 20 years. 
Municipal Funding Impacts
  • Prolonged life span of landfills equates to financial savings for municipalities and residents
  • Creates jobs in waste education, enforcement, etc.
  • Divert NS funding has helped contribute to our province’s low disposal rate (383 kg/pp)
  • Divert NS funding leverages incremental municipal funds for waste diversion

The study also documents six case studies of projects funded by Divert NS’ Research & Development Program, Value-added Manufacturing Program, and Student Research Grant Program. Two highlights include:

  • Funding from Divert NS was used to examine the best practices for recycling residential compact fluorescent bulbs in other provinces. The report recommended a province-wide recycling program and was widely circulated among government, business, and other organizations seeking to assist with creating a mercury diversion program. Nova Scotia now has a recycling program for CFLs.

  • Funding from Divert NS helped a local business analyse waste wallboard and wood fibre as an alternative for dairy bedding. The product is now on the market and is presold to farmers for the next year.

Click to view the Economic and Environmental Impact Study of RRFB Nova Scotia’s Programs report in the Resources>>Research & Reports section of our website.