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A Sustainable Winnipeg

Waste Management & Diversion

The Water and Waste Department is responsible for managing the collection, transportation, monitoring and disposal of most garbage and recyclable material that is generated in Winnipeg. The City's waste management and diversion efforts have come a very long way since 1995, when Winnipeg started up a residential recycling program.

In November 2001, on-site recycling collection was made available to all multi-family dwellings, including apartments, condominiums and townhouses. By 2003, recycling became even easier with a new recycling facility that accepted more types of materials and allowed people to co-mingle their recyclable materials all together in one blue box. In October 2012, the City rolled out its cart collection program (limiting garbage and providing more capacity for recycling) in addition to the yard waste collection program, which keeps over 30,000 tonnes out of the landfill annually.

As shown in the tables below, these initiatives have ultimately meant that, over the past 10 years alone, residential waste has decreased by more than 23%, while recycling has increased by over 31%. In 2015, over 230,000 tonnes of residential waste and recyclable materials were collected from the residential sector in Winnipeg. On a per capita basis from 2011 to 2016, garbage collected has decreased 22%, recycling has increased 17%, and composting has increased 221%. As shown in the figures below, the combined efforts of the City and all Winnipeggers have generated some positive impacts.

Residential Recycling Collected (2006-2015)
Corporate GHG Emissions by Sector 2013

4R Winnipeg Depots

To further waste diversion efforts, the City recently introduced a series of '4R Winnipeg Depots' intended to provide residents with convenient, centralized locations to drop off materials that they no longer have a use for, but could be recycled, reused, composted, or resold. The 4R Winnipeg Depots are for residential customers only and all recyclable items on the accepted materials list will be accepted for free drop off. There are currently three 4R Winnipeg Depots. More information on each of these drop-off locations can be found below:


Composting represents the next key step in the City of Winnipeg's waste management and diversion efforts. This is a natural process of breaking down organic material, such as kitchen and yard waste, to produce a nutrient-rich, soil-like material. The process works with the help of micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi combined with air and moisture. A detailed list of composting FAQs can be found here.

There are a lot of reasons why composting makes sense:

  • Composting means less garbage needs to be collected and disposed at landfill, which could save you money on your property taxes.
  • Composting turns organic waste materials into usable resources.
  • Composting can reduce your household garbage by almost one-half.
  • Composting benefits plants and trees by returning valuable nutrients to the earth and increasing water retention of soil.

Organics make up approximately 40% of Winnipeg's residential waste stream. In 2016, the City of Winnipeg collected over 33,000 tonnes of yard waste to be composted at the Brady Road Resource Management Facility. The City works to ensure that the finished compost to meet the standards established by the Compost Quality Alliance and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

Under the existing Garbage and Recycling Master Plan, adopted by Council in October 2011, Winnipeg has established a waste diversion target to reduce the annual amount of solid waste going to the landfill by 50% or more. As of 2016, the City had made good progress toward this goal, with a residential waste diversion rate of 32.9%. This is an increase of 14.3% from the 2011 diversion rate of 18.6%, which was prior to implementation of the Garbage and Recycling Master Plan. Composting represents a great opportunity for the City to keep the momentum going.

In support of the Corporate Waste Reduction Strategy, which identifies the need to prioritize organic waste diversion in all facility types as this is a significant component of the waste stream, the City is exploring the feasibility of organics compost collection in our corporate facilities. It is doing this by piloting an office composting project at the Property, Planning and Development (PPD) offices and through a Composting Program at Grace Café on the main floor of the City Hall Administration Building. The PPD office composting program was designed to serve approximately 300 staff. During its first year of implementation, results indicated that the composting pilot project was a resounding success, whereby committed and enthusiastic staff managed to divert nearly 5,000 kgs of organic waste through a partnership with The Forks and its in-vessel composting system.

Additional Resources

For more information on waste management, recycling and composting in Winnipeg, here are some helpful resources:

  • Recycling at the City of Winnipeg
    Explore the Winnipeg Water and Waste Department's website to learn about accepted recyclable materials, find your collection day, recycling cart tips and FAQs, plus information on a variety of other relevant services and initiatives related to responsible waste management.
  • Winnipeg Residential Recycling Report
    Explore and learn more about Winnipeg's recycling efforts, including quarterly collection figures, noteworthy accomplishments and upcoming initiatives.
  • Compost Winnipeg + Green Action Centre
    Compost Winnipeg is a social enterprise of Green Action Centre, a non-profit, non-governmental organization, based in Winnipeg and serving Manitoba. Operating for over 30 years, Green Action Centre promotes greener living for all Manitobans through environmental advocacy and education. Compost Winnipeg, operating since 2016, offers an organics pickup service for residents, businesses, restaurants, and offices in Winnipeg.
  • Recycle Manitoba
    Recycle Manitoba helps you find local collection sites to recycle a variety of stewarded materials in Manitoba such as batteries, electronics, used oil, tires and more.
Last update: January 30, 2020