CEO Message

In a year defined by the constant upheaval of COVID-19, Divert NS and its partners pushed through strong headwinds — and turned adversity into opportunity and innovation. We didn’t let the pandemic overcome us. We found the resilience to keep operating, find solutions and move forward. In characteristic East Coast fashion, we rose to the challenge.

And the challenges were many. Keeping our Enviro-Depots open and financially viable. Ensuring our office and warehouse employees remained safe and healthy. Delivering our education and communication programs in new ways. Providing funding and support for waste diversion partners in a time of financial uncertainty. It was definitely not business as usual.

Despite the obstacles the pandemic threw in our path, Divert NS’ financial and operational performance remained steadfast in 2020-21, with total revenues of over $ 61 million. Our beverage container recycling system generated $49.7 million in revenues. The used tire management program diverted 1.4 million tires from landfills. This year, our funding programs supported important waste diversion efforts, including a new sorting line for plastics recycler Novapet, as well as research on ghost gear that will be used to design and build a future stewardship program for end-of-life fishing gear.

This year we continued to be instrumental in creating a culture of recycling and refusing to waste province-wide – a culture that continues to grow. We’re proud of this year’s accomplishments, including: the launch of the Divert NS Ocean Action Zone in partnership with the Discovery Centre; funding 11 Clean Foundation summer internships; and our first virtual summit in partnership with the DirectioNS Council that led to a new funding program to support diversion efforts with their member agencies in fiscal 2022.

Our new Strategic Plan informed our thinking and actions this year. We began to focus on ways to make our operations carbon neutral — such as investigating solar panels and electric forklifts in our warehouse. We’re also shifting our delivery of education programs, communications, data management and procurement squarely into the digital realm. And Divert NS continues to expand its reputation as a leader in solid waste issues, especially in the areas of food waste and single-use plastics.

We also took a step forward to increase diversity of our organization, to better reflect the diverse communities of Nova Scotians that we serve. We engaged a consultant to conduct a review of our diversity policies and benchmark the organization. They have identified recommendations that we will be implementing to move us toward a more diverse and inclusive organization.

In what was undoubtedly a difficult year, there was a lot to feel good about. I believe Divert NS listened to our stakeholders and responded to their needs. As an organization we showed that we can be resilient and innovative in tough times. Together with our partners, we truly rose to the challenge. As Divert NS enters 25 years of operation, I know we will continue to rise to the challenges and successes ahead.

I am grateful for our Divert NS employees whose hard work, passion and bright ideas enable our mission and waste diversion goals. I’d also like to thank our board of directors for their continued insight, guidance and governance.

On behalf of the board of directors and the employees of Divert NS, I am pleased to present this annual report for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021.

Jeff MacCallum
CEO, Divert NS

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About Divert NS

For 25 years, Divert NS has helped drive the culture of recycling in Nova Scotia. We operate two recycling programs – for beverage containers and used tires — and work in partnership with business, like-minded environmental organizations, government and academia to foster stewardship, fund innovation, educate Nova Scotians, and support municipal waste programs province-wide. Divert NS is always seeking opportunities to improve our province’s environment and economy. We believe Nova Scotians are ready to take on the challenge of changing our culture from one that recycles to one that refuses to waste.

Our Mandates

  • Develop and implement industry stewardship programs
  • Fund municipal or regional diversion programs
  • Develop and operate a deposit-refund system for beverage containers
  • Develop education and awareness of source reduction, reuse, recycling and composting
  • Promote the development of value-added manufacturing in the province.

Our Mission

To work with Nova Scotians to improve our environment, economy and quality of life by reducing, re-using, recycling and recovering resources.

Our Pillars

  1. Stewardship: foster industry stewardship to reduce or divert waste from landfill and encourage Nova Scotia’s culture of refusing to waste.
  2. Innovation: enable new opportunities and approaches to waste diversion and reduction.
  3. Catalyst for Change: create relationships built on trust, lead by example, and bring together environmental change-makers.

Divert NS Turns 25

On April 1, 2021 we quietly recognized our 25th anniversary. On April 1, 1996, Divert NS and the seven municipal solid waste regions were established. To help celebrate, we created a 25th anniversary logo to share throughout the 2021-2022 year. We shared the logo with regions and Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change, with the hope that they too will use the logo in their communications. We can all take pride in Nova Scotia’s culture of recycling and refusing to waste.

Divert NS 25 Years of Nothing Wasted

Strategic Plan Overview

Every organization needs a destination, and a map to get there. Divert NS’ five-year strategic plan will help us to better guide management and board priorities. We view the plan as a living document, adaptable to our ever-changing new realities. It will be reviewed and updated as we evolve.

Strategic Statement: Be the lead organization on key solid waste-resource issues by stimulating innovation to advance environmental action and efficiency improvements.

New Divert NS Equity and Diversity PolicyDiversity

Divert NS is dedicated to the commitment of equity and strives to create an organization that is reflective of the diversity of Nova Scotians. We value the benefit that diversity can bring to our organization. In 2019, we adopted a new Equity and Diversity Policy. In fiscal 2021, we engaged a consultant to review our policy, processes and current practices in relation to encouraging diversity in the organization, and they provided a number of recommendations to move us toward a more diverse and inclusive organization. The recommendations will be reviewed and implemented throughout fiscal 2022.


Enabling new opportunities and approaches to waste diversion and reduction

Divert NS approved a total of $464,764 to fund seven studies and reports this year


Fostering industry stewardship to reduce or divert waste from landfill and encouraging Nova Scotia’s culture of refusing to waste


Catalyst for Change

Creating relationships built on trust, leading by example, and bringing together environmental change-makers


Counting on Success: Our Accomplishments in 2020-21

Divert NS funding at a glance

$6.9 million

to Nova Scotia’s 49 municipalities for diversion credits and funding for local recycling, composting and other programs

$1.7 million

(includes allocation to regions) to educate Nova Scotians and build ongoing support for environmental action


Approved for new research projects that support entrepreneurs and encourage innovation in waste reduction

Beverage Program

Beverage Container Program

Divert NS collects beverage containers through a network of 78 Enviro-Depots and mobile service locations across the province. This system has enabled Nova Scotia to achieve one of the highest redemption rates in the country.


Network of Enviro-Depots and mobile service locations across the province

511 Million

containers on which deposits were received (484 million in 2020)

421 Million

containers returned for recycling (392 million in 2020)

82.4 %

Recovery rate (80.9% in 2020)

457 Tonnes

CO2 reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from using compaction trailers

Used Tire Management Program

Used Tire Management Program

1.4 Million

passenger tire equivalents sold (1.5 million in 2020)

1.4 Million

passenger tire equivalents collected (1.4 million in 2020)


Recovery rate (89.7% in 2020)


Bicycle tires and tubes collected (2,550 in 2020)



Divert NS provided $700,000 in funding to the seven waste management regions for enforcement activities.


Illegal dumps sites reports


Inspections and audits, and proactive compliance visits


Offense tickets issued


Court convictions

Education & Awareness

Education and Awareness

Divert NS provides education and awareness programs province-wide to encourage Nova Scotians to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost.


distributed towards regional education contracts


to support Clean Foundation, including the Clean Leadership Interns


to support Adopt-A-Highway


awarded in scholarships


Nova Scotians reached through regional education contract initiatives

Funding Innovation

Funding Innovation

Divert NS provides funding to businesses, municipalities, entrepreneurs, and university students to support waste reduction and diversion, increase efficiency, and develop markets for waste-resources.


funding approved for two Value-Added Manufacturing Program projects


funding approved for four Research and Development Program projects


funding approved for one Student Research Grant

Revenue and Expenditures 2020-21

Divert NS Revenue

Program Expenditures Detail

Total Operational Program Expenditures