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Water and Waste Department

Guiding Principles

The guiding principles for the Garbage and Recycling Master Plan were established through the Phase 1 participation process and with input from the Stakeholder Advisory Committee. These principles help to shape the goals and objectives of the master plan, and will also help to guide potential options for garbage and recycling service in Winnipeg

The guiding principles of the master plan are:

  • Sustainability
  • Waste Hierarchy
  • Zero Waste

Sustainability considers environmental, economic and social factors in the decision-making process. These three factors are interconnected and need to be evaluated together - not as three separate parts.

Waste Hierarchy

The waste hierarchy places priority on:

  • preventing waste generation (reducing and reusing),
  • maximizing waste diversion (recycling and recovery) and
  • minimizing disposal (residuals)


  • minimizing the amount of waste generated (e.g., bringing shopping bags with you to the grocery store)


  • using something more than once, sometimes for another purpose (e.g., donating old clothing and furniture)


  • waste is transformed back to raw material then manufactured into new products (e.g., old newspapers are used to make new egg cartons)


  • energy and material recovery from waste (e.g., methane capture or composting)

Residuals (Disposal)

  • waste that cannot be reduced, reused, recycled or recovered is disposed of in a landfill as residuals
Zero Waste

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, defines ‘Zero Waste Communities” as:

A community that “has made a long-term commitment to reducing waste through measures such as extended producer responsibility programs, economic instruments to encourage waste reduction, green procurement and product design that includes end-of-life management.

General Principles of Zero Waste are:

  • Reducing and eventually eliminating waste sent to disposal
  • Recognizing that municipalities have a role to play, but that the responsibility also lies with industries, other levels of government and consumers.
  • A shift to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), where industries are responsible for the life cycle (production to disposal) of the goods they produce.
  • Recognizing that disposal facilities (e.g., landfills or Waste to Energy) continue to play a significant role even though zero waste practices work towards reducing the amount of garbage sent for disposal.

Last update: January 31, 2019