Hazardous Waste Management

This project was built on the commitment of the Government of Nunavut – Department of Environment to establish a hazardous waste (HW) diversion process at Nunavut landfills that contributes to community safety and is in compliance with existing environmental acts and regulations.   With regard to household hazardous waste management, partnerships are key.

Very few, if any, municipalities in Nunavut have a hazardous waste collection and management system in place; those few that do, will not accept hazardous waste from business and industry, who by far, are the largest generators of these materials.  Furthermore, the expertise, in terms of the management and disposal of hazardous waste, is either non-existent or limited particularly in the smaller communities.  The situation is exacerbated by the fact that virtually all communities in Nunavut engage in the practice of open burning of garbage as a means of volume reduction. This poses a hazard both to the residents of the community and particularly to municipal workers when hazardous waste - such as chlorinated solvents and compressed flammable gas cylinders - make their way into the landfill with the domestic waste.

Despite the preponderance of acts, regulations and guidelines already in place that govern the management and disposal of hazardous waste, a great deal of this material continues to make its way into landfill/disposal sites across Nunavut.  Furthermore, none of the communities have lined landfills, nor are there any systems in place for collecting and treating toxic leachate. It is therefore probable that most, if not all, communities in Nunavut are, technically, in a state of permanent non-compliance with several pieces of federal and territorial legislation.

This project was originally conceived by the Nunavut Department of Environment over 15 years ago.  Several attempts were made to fully develop the idea; however a paucity of resources and support precluded it moving forward.  This latest effort involved the development of a training program to instruct Nunavut landfill operators to appropriately sort and store household hazardous waste materials that come to the landfill site from residents.    Its overall objective is to provide a means for every Nunavut community to implement a hazardous waste diversion program and to further manage and dispose of their own hazardous waste in accordance with territorial and national standards.


In class training includes a review of effective landfill management practices, then focuses on the knowledge and skills involved in sorting and storing household hazardous waste. Key Nunavut legislation is addressed.

In class learning is organized and delivered to support ECO Station learning and worksite application through strategies such as:

  • Activities are organized so participants become increasingly familiar with the manual during the training session.  Additional learning support material such as checklists and a reference wall chart were provided.
  • To help sites comply with relevant legislation and standards, the session reviews key reference and resources to increase operator understanding of both the legislative content and how to quickly locate relevant information back on the job in their home communities.
  • Sample HHM materials are incorporated into classroom training to enhance participant learning and to add variety to the instruction methods.  Strategies are also developed to accelerate participants’ independent decision making.  For example, trainees informally “test” their learning by doing simulated sorting of “test” boxes in which varied hazardous waste items are collected.
  • Another resource to support learning is video taped segments of ECO Station activities.  In addition to providing a visual element to the training, these segments can accelerate participant knowledge of and comfort in the ECO Station setting.  The videotaped segments can also serve as learning resources in the Nunavut communities by helping “graduates” review learning and to help future trainees prepare for pending training.


must be able to participate in both training sessions

No classes currently scheduled for this course