Guelph continues to prioritize environmental sustainability

From behind: a child rides a bicycle on the cycling lanes.

Environmental sustainability is a priority for the City and the community. Every year the City publishes an environmental sustainability report to highlight progress and the action needed to move closer to reaching sustainability goals, fighting climate change, and meeting our Race To Zero targets.

The 2021 Environmental Sustainability Report confirms that efforts to conserve natural resources within the community and build a sustainable future-ready Guelph are making a difference. Accomplishments included:

  • Adding 20 public electric vehicle chargers across Guelph and upgrading electrical infrastructure for charging electric buses
  • Keeping 38,873 tonnes (about one-third the weight of the CN Tower or 6,500 elephants) of organic garbage out of landfills and converting it into 7,045 tonnes (1,000 elephants) of compost
  • Adding 3.3 kilometres of on-road bike lanes to our existing active transportation network totalling 117 kilometres (about the distance from Guelph to Niagara Falls)
  • Installing 18 wildlife tunnels to protect animals along busy Guelph roads
  • Reusing 3,522 tonnes (600 elephants) of biosolids from wastewater as farm fertilizer
  • Planting 6,450 trees and shrubs in Guelph’s parks and natural areas
  • Saving 205 cubic metres (1,500 bathtubs) per day of drinkable water through efficiency programs

Many City facilities were closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and used less resources than in a typical year. From January to December 2021, annual greenhouse gas emissions increased by 3.6 per cent compared to 2020. However, the 2021 greenhouse gas emissions are lower than 2019 and 2018, which shows the City's actions are working.

The 2022 Environmental Sustainability Report will be published in June 2023.

The City plans to sustain our future by reducing carbon emissions and using 100 per cent renewable energy for all facilities, fleets and operations by 2050. The community is encouraged to explore different environmental programs and initiatives so they too, can take action against climate change and help win the Race To Zero.  

Additional 2022 highlights

Water Resource Recovery Centre

What goes down comes around at the Water Resource Recovery Centre

Staff and the public had much to celebrate on April 23, 2022, at the City’s Wastewater Open House. The Earth Week event witnessed the launch of the new wastewater public education program—What Goes Down Comes Around—and introduced the public to the facility’s new name, the Water Resource Recovery Centre.

What goes down comes around at the Water Resource Recovery Centre
Guelph waste water outfall

Managing wastewater for a future-ready Guelph

In 2020, the City initiated an update to the Wastewater Treatment and Biosolids Management Master Plan to make sure everything that is flushed down your sinks, drains and toilets is managed sustainably.

Managing wastewater for a future-ready Guelph