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How waste affects our fresh water

pile of garbage next to water

Did you know the average Manitoban makes 660 kg of waste each year? That's about the weight of a full-sized adult cow and about 1.5 times as heavy as a grand piano.

Different types of waste pose different problems for our water quality and quantity.

kitchen home compost

Organic Waste

Leaf and yard waste, food waste, and wood waste

About one-third of household waste in the Winnipeg Metro Region is organic waste. Meaning a third of what we throw out could easily be either composting at home or collected using curbside yard waste pickup services.

Organic waste in our landfills takes up space. Decomposition at the disposal location releases methane gas into the air, a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG). In Manitoba, landfills are responsible for three per cent of GHG emissions.

weaving textiles to make a shirt

Virtual Water

The average person wastes 1,165 litres of water per day because of food waste. Producing our food requires a lot of water. For example:

It also takes a lot of water to make the products we buy that often become waste. For example:

litter floating in water


Waste tossed on the roadside can easily float or get blown into our waterways. Litter on the street can end up in our street drains, flowing directly into nearby freshwater rivers or streams.

paint brushes covered in paint

Household Wastes

Electronics, medications, and paint waste can lead to water contamination if not properly recycled. Imagine being a fish in contaminated water. The fumes and colours of paints floating around you all the time, destroying water visibility, killing the things you eat, and degrading water quality.

It is crucial to take oil and other chemicals to a hazardous waste management depot for proper disposal.

Check out last week's blog to learn how to properly dispose of these and other household waste products.

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