Waste Minimization Program
Minimizing and reducing waste in your community can result in immediate environmental benefits, both locally and globally.
Many First Nations in Manitoba would like to start or enhance their waste management programs, but finding out what to do and who to contact can be challenging. Green Action Centre offers a variety of resources and services to support Manitoba First Nations to minimize waste and recycle more. At home, at school and in the community.
Find resources to protect the land, air and water. Explore the 4 R’s of minimizing waste – Respect, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
Here are some highlights about reducing waste and recycling from communities that we have interacted with.
Have a story to share about how your Manitoba First Nation reduced, reused or recycled waste? Let us know at email@example.com and we’ll add it below.
Bunibonibee Cree Nation Residential Recycling
Bunibonibee Cree Nation (Oxford House) was among the first communities in the North to get a baler and begin baling cardboard and other recyclables. In 2022 BCN shipped 36 bales of cardboard down to GFL (Green for Life) in Winnipeg via the winter ice roads. In 2023 the waste management team collected and baled a whopping 76 bales of cardboard (over 75,000 lbs!). In 2024 the waste management team had another busy year, collecting and baling 60 bales of cardboard.
In 2022/23, Bunibonibee Cree Nation collected and backhauled a whole semi-truck load of tires (about 900). The tires were staged which helped reduce the amount of snow and water which would make them heavier to load. In 2023/24 Bunibonibee collected another full semi-truck load of tires and had them staged and ready to be backhauled on the winter road.
Black River Bike Repair Event
In July 2023, Pathfinders and staff from Winnipeg Trails visited Black River First Nation to host a Bike Repair event as part of the community’s Treaty Days celebration. The Winnipeg Trails team led a bike repair workshop while Pathfinders organized fun and competitive races on the speed, skill, and race courses they designed. The Winnipeg Trails team didn’t just fix the bikes, they instructed others how to perform the repairs themselves. This capacity building will hopefully encourage future knowledge sharing among Black River bike enthusiasts. We left excess bike parts and tools at the recreation centre for all to use.
Buffalo Point HHW
In 2022, Product Care picked up 4 tubskids of paint from Buffalo Point First Nation. In 2023, the waste management team collected another 2 tubskids of paint, as well as a half drum of single use propane canisters and another half drum of aerosols. Thanks to the commitment of the waste team in Buffalo Point, they have begun collecting more products which fall under the HHW umbrella.
Garden Hill ELVs
In the past 5 years (2018-2023) Garden Hill has been able to fully/partially depollute about 1700 ELVs (End-of-Life Vehicles). Some of these have been crushed and in early 2023, 219 crushed vehicles were sent to Gerdau Steel Mill for recycling.
Island Lake Regional Training
In June 2023, The First Nations Waste Minimization team partnered with St. Theresa Point First Nation, Wasagamack First Nation, and Garden Hill First Nation to organize an in-community safety training session for waste management staff. There were 20 participants in total – 12 from St. Theresa Point (STP), 4 from Wasagamack, and 4 from Garden Hill. Participants took the Safety First: 4R Hazard Awareness Training offered through the Manitoba Environmental Industries Association (MEIA). The goal of the training is to help waste management staff be aware of the daily hazards they encounter at work and to go home safe to their families every day.
Little Saskatchewan Scrap Metal
In November 2023, the waste management team in Little Saskatchewan First Nation managed to remove two 40 yard bins of scrap metal from their transfer station site for recycling. Waste Connections came out to do the pick up. Keeping the scrap metal in bins means less storage issues at the transfer station and is a quicker, less labor intensive way of removing scrap metal once the bins are full.
In August 2023, Pathfinders traveled out to Peguis First Nation to help package and stage e-waste that had been collected over the span of a few years. The e-waste was loaded onto pallets which were wrapped and moved by skid steer for pickup. In Fall 2023, 23 pallets were picked up by EPRA (Electronic Products Recycling Association) and sent to Exner E-waste to be properly recycled.
Pine Creek Mattress Removal
In October 2023, Pathfinders rented a 26 foot box truck and drove out to Pine Creek First Nation to help tackle an overflow of mattresses. Mattresses are a tricky waste material to divert because they are a non-stewarded material, meaning the community has to cover the cost if they wish to divert this waste stream from their waste site. In total, 55 mattresses, and 11 box springs were loaded up and driven back to Winnipeg where they were processed at Mother Earth Recycling.
Wasagamack Lead Acid Batteries
In January 2024, members of the FNWM Team visited Wasagamack First Nation to provide support in their Backhaul efforts. During this visit, Pathfinders helped develop a load plan of where to place different waste materials on the semi trailer, and also helped palletize and shrink wrap 2 pallets of lead acid batteries (approximately 80 batteries total). Wasagamack First Nation waste management team also shipped out two pallets of lead acid batteries as part of their 2022/2023 Backhaul effort as well.
White Goods Pilot
In November 2023 and January 2024, Pathfinders traveled out to Bunibonibee Cree Nation and Island Lake region (St. Theresa Point First Nation and Wasagamack First Nation) with a MOPIA (Manitoba Ozone Protection Industry Association) technician to remove refrigerant gas from derelict fridges and freezers. 4 lbs. of refrigerant gas was collected from 117 depolluted units in Bunibonibee Cree Nation. 25 lbs. of refrigerant gas was collected from 223 units depolluted in Wasagamack and St. Theresa Point First Nations. These units will be backhauled on the 23/24 winter road and properly recycled in Winnipeg.
News and Announcements
- SCO FNs Waste Management Conference, March 19, 2024
- RISE Lunch and Learn, March 21, 2024
- Waywayseecappo School Presentation, TBD
benefits of managing waste
Water is Life
Protect your water from the dangers posed by hazardous wastes seeping into the ground, lakes and rivers
Keep Mother Earth healthy for future generations
Beauty of the Land
Preserve the natural beauty and health of the land, water, forests and wildlife
Protect your children and all community members from toxic or hazardous materials
Make it easier to breathe by not burning plastics and other recyclables
Sharing is Caring
Sharing gently used goods at low or no cost benefits everyone in the community
Reducing the amount of litter around your community and at the landfill helps everyone feel better
Reducing the amount of stuff we buy saves money, reduces waste and frees us from having to keep up with the latest trends
Growing food in the community provides fresh, healthy produce and reduces the amount of food packaging waste
When planning how to reduce waste in your community, here are a couple of ‘reality checks’ to consider. Avoid frustration later by reading these now.
#1 Recognize that you will not likely make money from recyclable materials.
There are many good reasons to safely handle and reduce waste in your community but creating revenue is not one of them.
#2 Consider starting with collecting old cell phones, household batteries, tires or electronic waste.
While many communities want to start with residential recycling (‘blue box’), it can be challenging. The programs and materials listed above are more straightforward.
- Innowaste – Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources
- Find Your Eco-Depot (MB)
- Manitoba Industry Stewardship Programs
- WasteWise (MB)