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2002 Waste — Co-winner 2

Town and Rural Municipality of Shoal Lake, Manitoba

Shoal Lake Recycling Program

Population: 801

The Town and Rural Municipality of Shoal Lake provide an excellent example of how a community-based program can significantly reduce waste by recycling. In 2001, Shoal Lake recycled 126.1 kilograms of material per person, far beyond the 72.5 kilograms per person that represents the average for large urban centres. Another 20 per cent of Shoal Lake's waste is organic material that is composted. The existing recycling centre, built at the municipal landfill in 1995, has now tripled in size. Selling recycled materials for re-use brings in more than $40,000, which represents almost 75 per cent of the annual cost of the program. Shoal Lake now has plans to expand its program throughout the rest of the region where recycling rates are much lower-only about 23 kilograms per resident per year.


The Shoal Lake recycling program was a joint effort between the Town of Shoal Lake and the Rural Municipality of Shoal Lake. This award-winning recycling program began not from an official plan or political pressure, but from a community initiative that initially involved only a handful of people. Recycling plays a key role in minimizing the town's waste management and landfill costs. By reducing and diverting waste, the program has extended the lifespan of the town's landfill site.

Other sustainability initiatives in the town and rural municipality include working in partnership with the Province of Manitoba on a watershed management plan to protect water quality in Shoal Lake.


  • The Town and Rural Municipality of Shoal Lake reduced their municipal waste by a total of 60 per cent-40 per cent of municipal waste is recycled, and 20 per cent is organic material used for composting.
  • Shoal Lake has the highest rate of recycling per person in Canada at 126 kilograms per year, compared to an average of 72.5 kilograms per person in large urban centres.
  • Following the construction of the recycling centre, the total annual kilograms of materials recycled increased from 37,000 in 1996 to 170,353 in 2000-2001.
  • The town and rural municipality regularly receive an A+ rating on the Manitoba Product Stewardship Council's community recycling report card. To attain that standing, a community must recycle about 75 kilograms per person.

Lessons Learned

  • The town may have been able to avoid making five additions to the recycling centre had a larger facility been built at the start.
  • The town has seen how profitable recycling can be and knows that it is the way of the future.



  • Rural Municipality of Shoal Lake
  • Manitoba Product Stewardship Corporation
  • Shoal Lake School
  • Shoal Lake Credit Union
Page Updated: 21/12/2015