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Households and the Environment Survey, 2017

Released: 2019-06-12

Households' hazardous waste

In some jurisdictions across Canada, there are restrictions on the types of hazardous wastes that households are allowed to dispose of in their regular garbage, because they may contain materials that are detrimental to the environment. To address this, hazardous waste disposal programs have been established to help Canadians dispose of these kinds of products.

In 2017, the most frequently-reported type of household hazardous waste was batteries other than car batteries, reported by 57% of Canadian households. Of households that had batteries to dispose of, the most common disposal method reported was to take or send them to a depot or drop-off centre (53%). About 18% of households reported putting them in the garbage, while 16% of households returned them to a retailer or supplier and 14% still had some at the time of interview.

Electronic waste

Consumer electronics such as computers, cellular phones and televisions can pose a disposal challenge for households when they are no longer wanted. In 2017, 48% of Canadian households reported having at least one type of electronic waste (e-waste) to dispose of.

Computers and televisions were the two most-frequently reported types of e-waste, with 20% of households reporting having had either of those two types of products to dispose of in 2017. In both cases, the majority of households took or sent them to a depot or drop-off centre (58% and 60% of households, respectively). At the time of interview, 24% of households that had unwanted computers and 16% of households with televisions to dispose of still had them.

Sustainable Development Goals

On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the United Nations' transformative plan of action that addresses urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.

The Households and the Environment Survey is an example of how Statistics Canada supports the reporting on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This release will help to measure the following goals:

  Note to readers

The Households and the Environment Survey (HES) asks Canadian households about their activities and behaviours with respect to the environment. It covers a wide variety of topics including water and energy consumption and conservation, hazardous products used in the home, and the household's interactions with nature. Data from the survey are used by governments to guide policies and programs, by researchers to learn more about Canadians and by individuals to see how they compare with the rest of the country.

In 2017, the HES surveyed approximately 22,000 households.

The target population of the 2017 HES consisted of households in Canada, excluding households located in Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, households located on reserves and in other Aboriginal settlements in the provinces, and households consisting entirely of full-time members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Institutions and households in certain remote regions were also excluded.

First conducted in 1991, the HES was subsequently conducted in 1994, 2006 and every second year starting with 2007. Some of the environmental variables from the first cycle continue to be measured, but many new topics have been introduced over the years.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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