Halifax Index: Sustainability yields big wins for Halifax

July 29, 2015

Haligonians are big on recycling and have a low dependence on cars – just two reasons why Halifax, Nova Scotia, is one of Canada's most sustainable cities.

According to the most recent edition of the Halifax Partnership's Halifax Index, released in June, the city diverted nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of its waste away from landfills and into composting and recycling programs during the 2013-2014 period. After consistently reducing its residential waste and commercial waste per capita over the years, Halifax has been able to achieve record lows that are considerably lower than the national average.

"Halifax diverted 62% of its waste away from landfills in

In terms of decreasing environmental waste, Nova Scotia has embraced renewable energy and driven down its greenhouse gas emissions to pre-1990 levels. The province also enjoys high-quality drinking water and air, and is home to a number of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified buildings, including the Life Sciences Research Institute, Ocean Sciences Building and Mona Campbell Building at Dalhousie University.

Alternative transportation is another area of sustainability in which Halifax excels. According to the Index, the percentage of municipal residents who used public transportation to get to work was the highest of the six Canadian cities included in the research (London, Quebec City, Regina, St. John's, Victoria and Halifax itself). Meanwhile, Halifax's use of active transportation – defined as cycling or walking – was second only to that of Victoria. Halifax Transit's Moving Forward Together Plan, scheduled for a 2016 rollout, is expected drive up public transportation ridership even further with what Halifax Transit Director Eddie Robar called "an unprecedented overhaul to our transit system."

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