Date of this Version
Despite the recent enactment of federal and provincial reduction targets, the majority of government and private sector research has focused primarily on household recycling strategies while little attention was given to other dimensions critical to the achievement of sustainable waste management. Although distinct problems may exist in rural jurisdictions, the literature continues to address the problems inherent in the management of wastes in urban centers rather than rural communities. The aim of this research was to close this gap by examining the issue of municipal waste management in rural Manitoba. Special emphasis was placed upon: (1) the amount and type of solid waste generated, and associated management activities, (2) the social, economic, political and jurisdictional factors influencing regional strategies and (3) the level of awareness and willingness of rural Manitobans to address the solid waste problem. Questionnaires were distributed to the 104 Rural Municipalities (RMs) in the province from which a response rate of 40 percent was achieved, and waste management officials in four municipalities were directly interviewed to provide a more in-depth analysis. The most conspicuous conclusion of the study is that, like other communities, household recycling continues to be the primary waste diversion activity in rural Manitoba. There is a deficiency in perceptual recognition of a waste management problem as there is still available landfill capacity in the area. This factor may partly explain why the 4Rs (reduction, reuse, recycling, and recovery) strategies or initiatives are not vigorously pursued. Finally, this study reveals that the goals set by the Manitoba Recycling Action Committee for a 50 percent reduction in wastes going to landfill, from the 1988 level, by the year 2000 is not achievable unless a more comprehensive waste management strategy is implemented.