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Waste management planning and changes in Waterloo Region

The Waste Management Master Plan - Background information

A Waste Management Master Plan (WMMP is a comprehensive strategy that guides not only how we will handle our garbage in the future, but also how to continually improve our waste reduction and diversion programs.

Below is background information about how our new WMMP was developed. 

Why did we need a new Master Plan?
Since the majority of the original 1986 Waste Management Master Plan (WMMP) initiatives have been implemented, and our one-and-only landfill has an expected 20 years capacity left, it was time to determine long-term, sustainable strategies. A new WMMP was needed to guide the future of Waste Management for Waterloo Region.
How was the Master Plan developed?

Work on the master plan began in April, 2012. The Region reviewed existing waste management programs and performance, identified opportunities to divert even more waste from landfill, identified options for future residual waste management and evaluated their sustainability, and recommended options for the long term management of Waterloo Region's residual waste.

Please refer to Project reports and information and Background documents for WMMP plans, principles, and process updates, as well as reports on stakeholder involvement and public consultations.

What is our new strategy?

In November 2013, Regional Council approved the report and recommendations, report E13-127. (See link on the second page of the agenda.) With this, Council approved the Final Master Plan Report (2MB) which included the Waste Reduction and Diversion Study (3MB).

The strategy targets three primary and complementary areas of focus, and includes the following recommendations:

  1. Diversion:  Implement curbside collection policy changes to increase diversion (e.g. bag limits, bi-weekly garbage collection, standardized residential waste collection), and consider "user pay" options (e.g. bag tags).
  2. Long-term plan for managing garbage: (a) Investigate thermal technology options, and (b) Continue to work with the Water Services Division to investigate opportunities for efficient and innovative processing and disposal of garbage and biosolids.
  3. Planning: (a) Adopt a waste hierarchy that includes "Recovery" as the fourth R and consider recovery of energy and resources above waste disposal; and (b) Establish an inter-municipal working group to explore potential partnership opportunities.
What does the new Waste Management Master Plan mean to me?

The priorities for the next five years identified in the Waste Management Master Plan include:

  • Standardizing rural and city waste programs,
  • Modifying depot drop-offs, 
  • Enhancing programs to maximize diversion, including options such as bi-weekly garbage collection, reducing and standardizing bag limits, and/or incorporating user-pay systems, and
  • Further investigating thermal technology and energy recovery options for garbage disposal. 

All these opportunities are currently helping other communities divert more garbage from landfill and find sustainable ways to manage garbage that requires disposal. More information, definitions, and details on what some other municipalities are doing will be available on our website shortly.

Staff will be developing programs to address these priorities. Please stay tuned for announcements.


If you have questions about the WMMP, please email them to us.  



Our thanks to residents and other stakeholders for providing suggestions and feedback during our Waste Management Plan process. Together, we can and do make a difference.