To help extend the life of the landfill, the City of Saskatoon hopes to divert 70 per cent of waste away from the landfill by 2023. According to the latest report, Saskatoon has a long way to go.

Last year, the city diverted 22.8 per cent of waste away from the landfill. That’s up one per cent from 2016, but still well below the national average of 43.7 per cent. The cost to establish a new landfill would be about $100 million.

According to the city, about 58 per cent of what ends up in your trash shouldn’t be there. It’s what’s called organic waste, which includes food and yard waste. It should be composted.

The city does have its green cart program — a separate bin other than your black and blue bin – specifically for composting. It’s an optional pay-for-service program, but it’s only available to houses. Multi-unit buildings, which make up about six per cent of the waste that ends up in the landfill, are not eligible for the program — although the city says a study conducted in 2017 found that 81 per cent of multi-unit residents support a city-wide food and yard waste collection program.

“People are interested in seeing these materials diverted,” said Brenda Wallace, the city’s director of environmental and corporate initiatives.

“There’s also more organic materials that could be diverted if you have a city-wide program.”

The city estimates 61 per cent of the waste generated from multi-unit buildings could be diverted if the right programs, policies and resident participation were in place. The city is now inviting residents who live in apartments and condos to weigh in on what kind of waste diversion program they’d like to see.

“Whether we should approach this in the same way that we did with recycling and have the city provide a service, either directly or through a contractor, or whether we should bring forward a bylaw that asks property owners and managers to ensure that there’s an organics program in place, and then they can establish what that looks like,” said Wallace.

Public engagement will begin June 3. Residents can fill out an online survey between June 3 and 22. The city will also be at a number of public events throughout June.

The city will be reaching out to institutional, commercial and industrial stakeholders for feedback in the fall.