Resources & Natural Systems
The Resources and Natural Systems area includes: trees, plants and waste.
Trees and plants are important to the carbon cycle because they take in carbon dioxide (CO2) and release oxygen (O2). Trees also provide valuable shade.
Diverting organic waste from the landfill helps reduce GHG emissions. Organic waste buried in a landfill – an oxygen-depleted environment– generates methane (CH4) which is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Protect trees and plants.
Trees and plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen – so taking care of them reinforces nature's ability to combat climate change. Trees and plants offer shade to protect us from the sun and cool our homes, decreasing our need for energy. In the winter trees act as natural wind breaks.
As of 2014, the municipal tree canopy covers approximately 25% to 30% of the city. Kingston's Urban Forest Management Plan guides the management of trees on municipal property. This plan also includes a draft species planting list. The City's Guidelines for Tree Preservation and Protection provides direction during private sector construction and identifies where trees are to be retained and protected. Endangered, at risk or threatened tree species are further protected through the Tree Bylaw. The Natural Heritage Study provides a summary of the natural areas including wetlands wood lands and significant wildlife areas within our region.
When you purchase wood products (i.e. paper products, cardboard, furniture and lumber) buy only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) products. The FSC certification ensures that the wood has been sustainably harvested.
Visit Cataraqui Regional Conservation Authority and learn about:
- CRCA Spring Tree Sale: potted trees available for sale
- Lemoine Point Conservation Area Native Plant Sale (spring and fall): Includes the sale of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers.
- Lemoine Point Spring Tree Planting
- 50 Million Trees Program
- Seedling Sales
Visit the Memorial Tree page to learn how trees can be planted to remember a loved one or an event.
Visit DEPAVE Paradise program, coordinated by Red Squirrel Conservation, to learn about how volunteers are working together to remove asphalt and increase green space in our community.
For more information visit:
Reduce your waste and/or divert it from landfill.
Diversion of all types of waste from the landfill is critical to a sustainable community – but organic materials (food waste, lawn clippings, and branches) are of particular concern. Buried in a landfill in the absence of oxygen, these materials decompose to produce methane, which has a GHG emission potency 25 times that of carbon dioxide.
It is also important for each of us to think about the energy associated with the items that we place in the landfill: the energy used to obtain the raw materials that made up the product, the energy used to process and manufacture the product, and the energy to transport the product to Kingston. Respect the items you have used by finding alternatives to throwing them in the garbage (i.e. repurpose, donate, recycle). Consider buying gently-used items vs. new. This saves money and lightens your impact on the environment.
The City collects residential garbage, recycling and organics from residences, multi-residential buildings (apartments and condominiums with seven or more units) and businesses in the Downtown Business Improvement Area.
The ICI sector is responsible for its own waste management (garbage, recycling and organics collection).
Visit the City's waste management page to find out about:
- Waste Sorting Lookup tool – shows how to dispose of anything.
- Garbage Collection Calendar – sign up to receive collection reminders.
- Recycling and Special Diversion
- Organics and Yard Waste
Visit the City's waste less recycle more page to learn about:
- Give Away Days: Scheduled days where residents can put items out on their lawn that they no longer need for others to pick up.
- Kingston Freecycle: A website where people can post items that they want to give away.
- Electronic recycling: Find out what electronics you can recycle and where.
- Battery recycling: Find out locations for battery recycling in Kingston.
Visit Loving Spoonful to find out how you can get involved in the food reclamation program where excess food is collected and distributed to those in need within our community.
Get involved in cleaning up your neighbourhood and community! Pitch-In Kingston, coordinated by Sustainable Kingston, is an annual community clean-up event that encourages citizens to pick up litter on their streets and in their neighbourhoods.
For more information visit:
Explore workplace opportunities.
Reduce waste to save money and reduce emissions
The raw materials we purchase to make our products cost money. When these resources end up in the landfill, it is bad for the environment and GHG emissions and the bottom line. Everyday business decisions have an impact on the waste we generate and how much it costs to get rid of it.
In Kingston, the ICI sector is responsible for the management of its garbage, recyclables and compostables.
It is the law!
Ontario's 3Rs Regulations (O.Reg. 102/94) and Source Separation Regulations (O.Reg.103/94) became law in March 1994. Designated industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) organizations are required to implement waste audits, waste reduction work plans and source separation programs. Designated organizations include:
- Retail shopping establishments;
- Retail shopping complexes;
- Large construction projects;
- Large demolition projects;
- Office buildings;
- Hotels and motels;
- Educational and institutional buildings; and
- Large manufacturing establishments.
Waste mitigating resources and opportunities available to the ICI sector
- Visit Recycling Council of Ontario's (RCO) 3Rs Certification program for the ICI sector. Achieve certification levels based on established criteria and third-party evaluation of waste management and reduction practices.
- Visit RCO's Top 60 Waste Reduction Tips for Business
- Review David Suzuki at Work for tips and guidance on reducing waste in the workplace.
- Participate in the Recycling Council of Ontario's Waste Reduction Week. Review the resources and tips available to businesses including the business resource kit.
- Construction Firms: Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) is an internationally recognized sustainable building rating system. LEED emphasizes the benefit of construction waste diversion, the design of durable buildings as well as the design of buildings to enable for recycling and composting activities.
- Organizations that generate excess food (i.e. on-site cafeterias, bakeries, and restaurants) can participate in the Loving Spoonful food reclamation program that collects excess food and distributes to local meal programs and shelters.
- Enrol your organization to participate in Pitch-In Kingston and show your commitment to the community by cleaning up our streets and neighbourhoods.
Trees and Plants
General guidance to the ICI sector:
- If your workplace has the space, plant trees or allow trees to be planted on your site. The City's Guidelines for Tree Preservation and Protection provides a list of climate resilient tree species.
- Through purchasing policies ensure that the wood products purchased by the organization are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) products. The FSC certification ensures that the wood has been sustainably harvested.
- Where possible, replace asphalt with permeable surfaces.
- Engage staff to get involved in a tree planting initiative within the community.
- Protect ash trees on the workplace site from the emerald ash borer.
For the building and construction sector:
- Review the Design Guidelines for Residential Lots in Kingston for stormwater management and landscaping.
- Consider the benefits of green roofs (i.e. increased insulation from the heat and cold, storm water retention and esthetics).
Review the City's Guidelines for Tree Preservation and Protection which provides direction during private sector construction and identifies where trees are to be retained and protected as well as the Tree Bylaw which protects endangered, at risk or threatened tree species.