Nova Scotia is divided into seven different solid waste-resource management regions. All municipalities offer curbside collection for paper and plastic recyclables, and most offer curbside composting. In addition, there is a network of 78 ENVIRO-DEPOT locations that collect refundable beverage containers, leftover paint, and a variety of other materials.

Deposit Return

The Beverage Container Deposit Refund Program is operated by the Divert NS and is regulated within the NS Solid Waste Resource Management Regulations.

The Deposit-Refund Program for Beverage Containers came into effect on April 1, 1996, and applies to all ready-to-serve beverages – except milk, milk products, soya milk, rice beverages, certain meal replacements, formulated liquid diets, foods for low energy diets, thickened juices, baby formulas, concentrates, non-alcoholic beverages 5-litres or greater, and all “return for refund” beverages purchased outside Nova Scotia.


Diversion Rates (Tonnes) 2016

Nova Scotia

All materials diverted



White goods












Construction, renovation and demolition



Other materials


*All other materials than ‘Plastics’ may or may not have plastics in them.

Diversion Rate Trends

Source: State of Waste Management in Canada, April 2015

Diversion rate statistics
Diversion rate statistics
Diversion rate statistics
Diversion rate statistics


Disposal Options


Energy Recovery from Waste Approach


In 2019, the province amended its solid waste regulations to allow thermal treatment facilities to turn plastic, cardboard and newsprint into energy. 

Landfill Operations

Numerous province-wide landfill bans on recyclables and organics, for residential and ICI sectors. Diversion of CRD priority via municipal funding formula. Regionalized waste management approach. Number of landfills operating = 26 with 2 Landfill Gas recovery.


Municipal Plastic Bans 



At the behest of the municipal council’s environment committee, council will consider a motion to direct staff to collaborate with the 10 largest municipalities in the province to draft a bylaw no later than December of this year to eliminate the distribution of single-use plastic bags.


The Town of Lunenburg is requesting staff to collaborate with stakeholders in drafting a bylaw banning single-use plastics. Council passed the motion on Feb. 26 following a presentation from Plastic Free Lunenburg (PFL), a community group which has been working in town to ban single-use plastics since 2018.