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2004 Waste

City of Selkirk, Manitoba

Solid Waste Management Plan

Population: 9,752

The City of Selkirk's Solid Waste Management Plan increased diversion rates by an average of 44 per cent and helped to lengthen the life of its landfill. The landfill was due to close in 2002, so the city adopted a wide-ranging plan that addressed business, commercial, institutional and residential waste issues. A combination of municipal purchasing polices, material ban bylaws, the construction of a new transfer station, and fee-based garbage collection as well as bag limits has diverted residential waste by 38 per cent and self-haul waste by 51 per cent. The city also initiated a three-phase centralized composting program, beginning with a subsidized residential backyard composting program. Its goal is to divert 50 per cent of waste by 2006 and 85 per cent by 2011.


The City of Selkirk has approximately 3,500 residential garbage collection points (single and multiple family dwellings) and about 300 businesses. Before adopting its Solid Waste Management Plan, the city was throwing close to 8,000 tonnes of waste into its landfill every year.

In 1989 the city's waste collection contract with BFI Canada was due for renewal. A city councillor, Bunny Cooper, wanted to begin a waste diversion program and urged city council to request that BFI, as part of its contract, begin collecting recyclable material. City council endorsed the idea and in 1990 BFI began a blue bag recycling program in partnership with ARC Industries, a training centre for mentally challenged adults.

In 1997 the city completed a feasibility study to expand its landfill. The city's landfill was due for closure so the city purchased a 70-hectare site adjacent to it for its expansion. Unfortunately, because the site was in another municipality, a conditional use permit was refused and the landfill was closed in November 2002.


  • 387.8 tonnes of MPSC-approved products have been recycled.
  • Recycling of other materials has also increased: 20 tonnes of metal, 3,037 tires, 4,080 litres of waste oil, and 805 litres of used fuel to name a few. Up until November 2002, these materials were sent to landfill.
  • Implementing the bag/can limit and requiring residents to purchase $1 tags for additional waste has promoted recycling and reusing.
  • Business taxes were reduced in exchange for eliminating commercial waste pick up. "In some cases the business tax was as high as $10,000 a year, so that's a substantial decrease," said Mr. Borsa.
  • The city implemented a purchasing policy that favours products made with recycled content or that are recyclable or reusable. It also developed a by-law to ban certain materials from landfill.
  • The city has reduced the number of employee hours at the transfer station. It has estimated that the reduction in part-time staff hours has already saved the city approximately $30,000.

Lessons Learned

  • LEARN FROM OTHERS. The city's consultant and city staff reviewed similar programs in several municipalities and toured several facilities. Learning from others helped the city plan its own needs and avoid the most common pitfalls.
  • HIRE AN INDEPENDENT CONSULTANT. Mr. Borsa explained that the city's consultant experience and knowledge of other programs ("been there, done that") helped to decrease the amount of staff time that would otherwise have been required to research programs and opportunities.
  • CHANGE TAKES TIME. Many residents were unhappy with the bag/can limit, and some had their blue boxes stolen. Mr. Borsa reported, however, that perceptions have begun to shift and that as residents become accustomed to the program, many of these problems will be resolved.

Partners and Collaboration


  • Operations Department


  • Resource Conservation Manitoba
  • City of Winnipeg
  • City of Portage la Prairie
  • Manitoba Product Stewardship Corporation (MPSC)
  • Manitoba Conservation's Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention (WRAPP)
  • Fund Manitoba Conservation's Pollution Prevention Branch (SDIF) Fund
Page Updated: 21/12/2015