Recycling in North East Saskatchewan – Survey results

(Last Updated On: December 31, 2018)

On December 30th, 2018, Nipawin News conducted a survey of 100 area residents asking 10 questions relating to the region they lived in and their waste and recycling habits and knowledge.

Highlights of the survey results draw attention to two major points that could have a direct impact on the effectiveness of local recycling and waste management programs.

Awareness of the future of landfills was high, with 92% of respondents aware of the need for recycling as a means to reduce the amount of waste going into those landfills. While most promotions for recycling programs focus on the environmental impacts of single use plastics outside of landfills, the long term effect on the life span of our land fills is not readily discussed.

Image Source: Len Mogge/Garrick Landfill

The second major point highlighted by the survey, is the fact that over 1/3 of respondents had no idea where their garbage or recycling goes after it is picked up from their driveway or the neighbourhood bins provided in their communities. This is concerning in some cases because municipalities, faced with long term decision making, often reach out to ratepayers for feedback. There is a risk of our council members are assuming that resident feedback is based on a basic knowledge level of current operations, which is clearly not the case in 1/3 of those who responded to this survey.

On the positive side, some communities, such as the Town of Carrot River, have not seen major changes in many years and awareness of where their garbage and recycling ends up is less a case of a lack of knowledge and more one of a system that works for their community and there has been little cause for concern on the ratepayers part.

The Town of Carrot River has hauled all of their solid waste to Tisdale for three years now and we have not expressed any interest to be a part of BARWA since it was formed.” stated Kevin Trew, Administrator for the Town of Carrot River, in response to an inquiry about where their waste goes, “Our landfill was taken out of service and subsequently decommissioned over 15 years ago. Since that time, the Town of Carrot River has avoided owning a landfill with the legal liabilities and responsibilities that come with that ownership.
In response to the survey results showing that 80% of respondents from Carrot River and the RM of Moose Range did not know where their waste was taken and 20% believe it goes to BARWA (Boreal Area Regional Waste Authority), Trew added, “While we are very transparent and have informed the public many times about waste and diversion, I am encouraged by the results of your survey that our efforts at looking after the residents and businesses waste disposal needs have been seamless and not front and center worries at the water cooler or at the coffee table.

Sample breakdown by region of the question “Where does your waste go?”

  • Town of Nipawin
    • Percent of respondents that are aware their waste goes to BARWA – 74.47%
    • Percent of respondents that are aware their recycling goes to a local facility** – 65.96%
  • RM of Nipawin
    • Percent of respondents that are aware their waste goes to BARWA – 45.45%
    • Percent of respondents that are aware their recycling goes to a local facility** – 63.64%
  • RM of Torch River
    • Percent of respondents that are aware their waste goes to Garrick Landfill – 48%
    • Percent of respondents that are aware their recycling goes to a local facility** – 44%
  • RM of Moose Range (Town of Carrot River
    • Percent of respondents that are aware of where their waste goes* – 0%
    • Percent of respondents that are aware their recycling goes to a local facility** – 40%

*While the RM of Moose Range is not currently a member of BARWA, which landfill their garbage goes to was unavailable at the time of publication. Town of Carrot River’s waste goes to Tisdale and the RV of Tobin Lake is a member of BARWA.

**MTN collects and processes recyclables at their facility in Codette, SK and the sorted acceptable material is then forwarded to the Loraas facility outside the North East region.

Note- RM’s of Arborfield, Connaught, Hudson Bay and Willow Creek received insufficient responses to be included.

Survey Results

The initial survey was comprised 10 questions focusing on consumer habits in regards to waste management and recycling. Further breakdowns and analysis of the data gathered, such as comparisons between different communities, will be presented in future articles as part of an ongoing series exploring waste management and recycling in North East Saskatchewan. Below are the overall responses from all 100 participants in our survey.

Question 1: Please indicate the area you reside in

Residency distribution of 100 respondents

Responses where high from residents within the RM of Torch River, including towns, villages and hamlets within the RM. Several factors should be considered when speculating why the response was higher (28%), compared to all 4 other RMs represented in the survey.

Population: The RM of Torch River is the most populated RM represented in the survey at 1,471 residents in the RM and it’s hamlets but 2,400 when the communities of Choiceland, Love, White Fox and Smeaton are included (Census 2016).

Issue awareness: The RM of Torch River is currently reviewing the future of waste management in their RM. As part of that review, many ratepayers have attended a Waste Management Open House meeting or been engaged in conversations regarding the future of the Garrick landfill.

Opportunity: Nipawin News has a high number of readers from the RM of Torch River in comparison to other RM’s. Additionally, the survey was shared on social media to the RM of Torch River Ratepayers group.

Question 2: How do you dispose of your waste?

Please select all that apply to you. Do not include materials you recycle.

My garbage is collected in a plastic garbage bin I put out in front of my home – 72%
My garbage is collected in a large metal bin in my yard – 9%
I drop my garbage off at a collection bin or transfer station – 10%
I take my garbage directly to the landfill (garbage dump) – 13%
Other 5% – of the 5 responses indicating other, 3 burned their garbage and 2 indicated they took at least some of their garbage to bins in the Town of Nipawin.

Question 3: How do you dispose of your recyclable materials?

(ie. pop bottles, newspapers, cardboard boxes, etc) Select all that apply

My recyclables are collected in a portable recycling bin I put out in front of my home – 70%
I deliver my recycling to a collection bin in my community – 17%
I take my recyclables to Sarcan – 80%
I do not recycle, I send my recyclables to the landfill with my waste – 2%
I reuse some of my recyclables – 28%
I burn paper recyclables in a burn barrel – 13%
I burn paper and some plastics in a burn barrel – 6%
Other – 6%

Question 4: Where does your waste go?


My waste is taken to BARWA – Boreal Area Regional Waste Authority – 44%
My waste is taken to another landfill within my RM (other than BARWA) – 18%
I don’t know where my waste is taken – 35%
Other – 3%

Question 5: Where do your recyclable materials go?

My recyclables go to a local facility to be sorted – 56%
My recyclables go to a facility outside the NE SK region to be sorted – 3%
My recyclables go to BARWA (as waste) – 3%
My recyclables go to our local landfill (other than BARWA), as waste – 1%
I don’t know where they go – 34%
Other – 3%

Question 6: Based on how you select and prepare what is to be recycled in your home, what percent of the items you recycle do you believe will end up being recycled, as opposed to being sent to the landfill.

Question 7: Recycling has rules. How sure are you of the rules of your local recycling services?

Question 8: Do you feel that you would recycle more if you had a better understanding of your local recycling rules?

Question 9: Based on how much you currently recycle, how would you rate your own recycling efforts on a scale of 1 to 10?

Respondents rating of their own efforts ranged from 0 to 10 and averaged averaged 8 out of 10 for the survey

Why do you recycle? Select all that apply

I recycle to help save our environment – 75%
I recycle to reduce the amount of waste going into our local landfills – 92%
I recycle because it is required by my municipality/waste management company – 11%
I recycle because I receive deposit refunds (ie. pop bottles) – 62%
I recycle so my waste can be used to make recycled items instead of producing new plastics and paper products – 68%
I don’t recycle – 1%
Other reasons you recycle – 9%
(Highlights include; setting an example for children and reducing mess and/or clutter)

This article is part of a series exploring waste management and recycling in North East Saskatchewan. You can be a part of the feedback by participating in future surveys. For a list of current surveys, you will find them on our Current Survey page. To be notified of new surveys, follow Nipawin News on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Post Author: Joanne Francis

Joanne Francis is the Editor and Journalist for Nipawin News