EDMONTON -- The City of Edmonton says a new approach to waste management is needed after the amount of waste diverted from landfill fell in 2019.

Twenty-one per cent of single-unit residential waste was diverted, down from 36 per cent diversion in 2018, the city said in a news release Tuesday.

A big reason a higher proportion of waste went to landfill last year was the closure of the Edmonton Composting Facility aeration hall last spring, the city said, adding changes in recycling markets also contributed to the low rate.

“The lower diversion rate confirms what we have known for some time: to make an impact we need to shift how we manage our waste, and our 25-year Waste Strategy is the best way to do that,” said Michael Labrecque, branch manager of waste services.

“We expect to see our diversion rate increase as we implement parts of the strategy, like the citywide cart rollout, and use of an anaerobic digestion facility.”

Part of the strategy includes the green cart composting program slated to roll out in 2021.

“We recognize that diverting more waste from landfill is a marathon, not a sprint,” Labrecque said.

Under the current strategy, the city's eventual goal is to divert 90 per cent of its waste from landfill through grass recycling, mulching, backyard composting and mindful grocery shopping.