Dettah recycling centre

Waste Reduction and Recycling

Funding: Waste Reduction and Recycling Initiative

The Waste Reduction and Recycling Initiative provides up to $50,000 in financial assistance to NWT-based municipalities, Indigenous governments and organizations, schools, non-profit organizations, businesses and individuals to complete projects supporting one or more of the following goals:

  • reduce the amount of waste generated in our communities
  • reuse materials and products, rather than discard them
  • recycle materials that are not already collected through a NWT recycling program
  • Increase awareness about the importance of reducing waste and encourage environmental stewardship of waste resources
  • recover a useful benefit from waste

How do I apply?

You can apply for 2022 funding from February 1 until April 4.

Please refer to the Waste Reduction and Recycling Initiative Funding and Applications Guidelines for more information. 

What kind of programs are funded?

See past project summaries for examples of successful projects.

Past Project Achievements


  • NWT Brewing Company, in an example of a circular economy, purchased a bottle washing station to allow the brewery to collect their bottles from the bottle depot, clean them, refill them, and resell them.  This keeps the glass from being shipped down south to be cleaned and reused, and reduces the amount of new bottles that the brewery needs to order and have shipped up.
  • Ecology North drafted a Community Events Sustainability Guide to provide support to organizers to identify ways to reduce waste production and energy consumption for an amazing NWT event.  
  • The Hay River Centre for Persons with Disabilities repurposed clothing and donated items that would have otherwise been landfilled into crafts, reusable bags, purses, quilts, safety masks, and other useful items.
  • Food First worked with select schools in the Territories to develop and expand on the schools’ existing composting programs in conjunction with existing gardening and food programs.


  • The Hamlet of Tulita shipped out 49,000L of hazardous waste to an appropriate facility;
  • The North Slave Métis Alliance developed an internal process for sourcing compostable dishware, and developed an on-site compost setup and signage for ongoing use;
  • Ecology North engaged with stakeholders to increase Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) participation in the Yellowknife Compost Program and worked with medium- and small-sized communities to develop community composting;
  • The Town of Inuvik created a dedicated space at the solid waste facility to accommodate reusable items that would have otherwise been discarded as waste, and created a waste reduction awareness campaign to inform and engage community residents; and
  • The Kátł’odeeche First Nation expanded community education about household hazardous waste and hosted a collection event to remove these items from the community and properly dispose of them.


  • A Sustainable Event Checklist/Guide developed by Ecology North;
  • Promotion of waste reduction and composting through the Yellowknife Farmer’s Market, including composting of 86% of waste generated at the market;
  • A compost project by the Hamlet of Tulita that diverted approximately 700 lbs. of organic and paper waste, and involved compost training workshops;
  • Portable indoor/outdoor recycling and compost stations to reduce waste at City of Yellowknife events;
  • More than 180 tonnes of scrap metal, including depolluted derelict vehicles and white goods, from Jean Marie River First Nation;
  • More than 22 tonnes of hazardous waste removed from Łutselk’e;
  • A cardboard shredder that enabled the Northern Farm Training Institute to divert 36m3 of cardboard from the Kátł’odeeche First Nation and the Hay River Super A store, and will enable them to divert 200m3 of cardboard annually from the Hay River landfill;
  • A recycling and compost education and assistance program in Sambaa K’e;
  • Removal of hazardous materials and scrap metal from Yellowknives Dene First Nation lands; and
  • A project by the Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation to divert waste from the Kakisa landfill through in-vessel composting and recycling, and to build a network for regional collaboration on waste issues.


  • The Hamlet of Paulatuk responsibly removed and shipped hazardous materials from the community landfills for recycling;
  • The Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation collected, removed and responsibly recycled bulky materials and tires from their communities and landfills;
  • Hay River's Northern Farm Training Institute built a compost facility to recover local food waste, paper and cardboard. This facility includes a compost learning and training site, where up to 50 NWT residents a year will be trained to set up local compost programs;
  • Range Lake North School in Yellowknife implemented a cardboard recycling and centralized composting program with strong social and educational components;
  • The Hay River Committee for Persons with Disabilities hired and trained a disabled youth to collect paper and food waste from local businesses. The paper and food waste was delivered to the Northern Farm Institute to be composted and used as feeding and bedding for the animals;
  • Habitat for Humanity constructed a ReStore adjacent to the City of Yellowknife's Solid Waste Facility to collect building materials and other recyclable items for re-sale. The ReStore estimated it will keep hundreds of tons of waste out of the Yellowknife landfill each year;
  • Through the Waste Reduction and Compost Program, the Yellowknife Farmers Market reduced waste by up to 80% at its weekly summer market. The program eliminated all single-use serving containers and cutlery and encouraged the public to compost and use reusable dishware. There was also an educational component surrounding waste reduction and composting;


  • The Food First Foundation reduced food waste in school cooking and food programs across the NWT by providing tools, skills and training. This helped reduce the purchase of packaging, increase the use of reusable dishes and start school compost projects;
  • Habitat for Humanity has constructed a ReStore adjacent to the City of Yellowknife’s Solid Waste Facility to collect building materials and other recyclable items for re-sale. The ReStore estimates it will keep hundreds of tons of waste out of the Yellowknife landfill each year;
  • The Hamlet of Aklavik, Hamlet of Fort Providence and Tsiigehtchic Charter Community responsibly removed and shipped hazardous and bulky materials from their community landfills for recycling and safe disposal. The Hamlet of Aklavik removed 116 fridges and freezers, 328 drums of used oil and hazardous waste for reuse and recycling;
  • Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation, in collaboration with Ecology North and Wilfred Laurier University, developed a recycling program for Kakisa, as it was an identified priority in the community;
  • École J.H. Sissons School in Yellowknife implemented a centralized composting program, which includes strong social and educational components;
  • The Town of Fort Smith completed a Waste Management and Reduction Plan to guide future waste reduction and diversion initiatives in Fort Smith;
  • The Yellowknives Dene First Nation built a recycling centre in N'dilo to collect recyclables for shipment to the City of Yellowknife facility;


  • The Community Government of Behchokǫ̀ has removed and safely recycled 4,800 litres of used oil stored at the Public Works yard in Behchokǫ̀. Residents dropped off over 30 barrels of used oil for safe recycling;
  • The Yellowknives Dene First Nation set up a satellite recycling centre and household hazardous waste collection area in Dettah. Recyclable materials and household hazardous waste were collected, safely stored, and transported to local processors for safe recycling or disposal;
  • The City of Yellowknife used an industrial shredder to shred tires into Tire Derived Aggregate, a material used to construct semi-permanent roads and ramps.  This project resulted in 20,000 tires being shredded;
  • The Hay River Poultry Manure Composting Project was started by Ecology North in conjunction with Choice North Poultry Barn. By combining paper products and poultry manure, the composting facility will produce safe and marketable finished compost;
  • The Hay River Committee for Persons with Disabilities trained clients to repurpose discarded clothing into sewing and craft supplies for sale at the local Fall Fair and winter markets;
  • Canadian Parents for French offered a free bilingual workshop in June 2014 to facilitate Yellowknife youth in making musical instruments from recycled materials;
  • Computers for Schools refurbished used electronics not collected through an NWT recycling program that would otherwise be discarded. The project used parts from 1000 machines to create 500 modern, fully functional computers for use across the NWT.