Industrial, Commercial & Institutional (ICI) Waste

What is it? 

Industrial, Commercial & Institutional (ICI) waste includes discards from businesses, large industries and institutions from hospitals and schools. ICI waste makes up the largest part of the waste stream, from 50 - 67 percent, depending on whether or not you includConstruction, Renovation and Demolition (CRD) waste. While the majority of recycling and waste reduction programs focus on the residential sector, reducing ICI waste has a much greater potential for diversion from landfills. ICI comprises a wide range of materials, from food waste to paper and everything in between.  

What is the issue? 

As the pie chart below shows, nearly half of Saskatchewan’s ICI waste is paper products. That’s 250, 000 tonnes of recyclable paper materials – equivalent to a quarter of the entire province’s waste. 20 percent of ICI waste is organic materials like food, yard waste and wood and 10 percent is made up of plastic. There is a huge potential to divert waste in the ICI sector and reuse it to make to make new products. 


Estimated composition of Saskatchewan's ICI waste.
Source:  System Analysis of Saskatchewan Waste Management Practices and Costs, 2009




Where can it go? 

While neither the province nor municipalities have specifically targeted the ICI sector, some businesses have been getting there on their own.  Check out our Waste Reduction Hub for smaller-scale options to recycle things like lumber, furniture, paper, and plastic. 

What happens after? 

ICI waste is recycled differently depending on what it is. Paper materials are sorted and baled, then sent to recycling mills to be made into new products. Plastics are separated by number, melted down and made into new products. The majority of food waste can be composted and used to enrich soil with important nutrients. Wood and lumber can be ground up and used in landscaping and other outdoor projects.  

Some industrial waste streams may not have a viable end use. As an example, SWRC conducted a waste assessment on a bus company. One of the waste streams was the worn out seat fabric and foam. While it might technically be possible to recycle these, the company didn't generate enough for a recycler to be interested. 

How can I reduce? 

  • Look to purchase products from companies with responsible practices / offer products made of recycled materials.  

  • Look through the company waste bin to see if you can identify materials that might be eliminated from the waste stream by changing practices.