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Thunder Bay progresses towards zero waste through an integrated waste management approach.

Why It Matters

Canadians throw away the energy equivalent of millions of barrels of oil per year, with significant economic, social, environmental, and cultural impacts. Much of this waste is potentially useful as it contains materials that could be reused or recycled. In addition to the substantial costs of waste collection and disposal, the production of waste creates GHG emissions and toxic substances. Litter can also be an issue that has a negative effect on the quality of life and economy of our community. Proactive measures and public education can help prevent litter before it hits the ground.

Some materials such as fluorescent lights and electronic waste contain toxic chemicals, which pose health and environmental risks. Residents may bring these materials to the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Depot at the Solid Waste and Recycling Facility on Mapleward Road or to depots set up by EcoSuperior in conjunction with local businesses. As a result of concerns about potentially hazardous electronic waste going to landfill, the Zero Waste Action Team (ZWAT) worked with the City and IC&I sectors to facilitate the establishment of the Pack Pros Plus E-Waste Collection Depot in 2004, which has resulted in the diversion of thousands of kg of e-waste from the landfill and created new direct jobs.

Individual purchasing choices such as choosing items with less packaging and avoiding items in single use plastic containers (i.e. bottled water, plastic bags) can reduce the impact of our lifestyle on the landfill. Purchasing decisions can reduce the impact on the landfill, and can be made by everyone.


  1. By 2020, the amount of residential solid waste generated annually per capita has decreased by 15% from the 2005 baseline.
  2. By 2020, the amount of commercial solid waste generated annually has decreased by 15% from the 2005 baseline.
  3. By 2020, single use bottled water is phased out of public facilities, schools, and public events in Thunder Bay and a strategy to phase out the use of other plastic containers has been developed.
  4. By 2020, a reduction in litter has been realized through a preventative approach and a culture of litter prevention prevails.
  5. By 2020, an increase in the diversion of hazardous waste and the use of less toxic alternatives has been achieved.


Learn more about the Objectives and Recommended Actions