Garbage Day

January 23, 2007 at 11:50 pm 38 comments

When I first came here in Winnipeg 17 years ago, I lived with my mother in her apartment.  I arrived on a Saturday and she would have to go to work on the following Monday.  She would have to leave me at home alone by myself so she showed me how to operate the stove and the microwave.  She showed me where the switches are for the lights and other appliances.  Later on she also showed me how to operate the washer and dryer in the laundry room.  And of course, where to and how to bring the garbage out. 

Every time we had a bag full of garbage (and I mean just a grocery bag full of garbage), we took that out with us when we had to leave the apartment and we went through the back door.  Behind the apartment building was a huge blue garbage bin with the letters BFI on it printed in white.  This is called an AutoBin.  That’s where we would dump our garbage-filled bags.  She told me that when she first came here, her friend, Tito Ronnie, (who was my future husband’s uncle) told her that it would be easy for her to remember where to put the garbage because BFI means Basura Fo Ito (“this is garbage” translated from Tagalog).  Of course he was just being funny.  BFI is the name of the waste management company but I don’t know what the initials mean.  My searches on the internet led me to nothing.  If you do find out what it means, please feel free to let me know.


There are AutoBins placed behind every building all over the city.  They are usually located at the back of the buildings, out of public sight. 

The City of Winnipeg is on a five-day cycle garbage collection.  Each neighbourhood or area is assigned a day, as in Day 1, Day 2, etc.  There is no collection on Saturdays and Sundays.  No collection on statutory holidays either.  So if your collection day is Day 1 and it is on a Monday.  And let’s say, Labour Day passes, then your next collection day will be on Tuesday.


If you live in a house, you should have a metal or plastic garbage container and you put this out by the back lane on collection day.  Make sure you clear all the snow so the collectors can see them.


The neighbourhood where I live doesn’t have back lanes, so we put our garbage out in the front at the curb on the night before garbage day or at least before 7:00 a.m.


But with all that snow, where do you put the garbage?  On the top.  Or you shovel and clear an area where to put them.


The City also has a recycling program.  Every household has a blue recycling box where we put our recyclables – paper, plastic, bottles, cans, etc.  We also put this out on garbage day.


Beside the Autobins of apartment buildings are these blue recycling bins where tenants can put their recyclables.



This is what the recycling bins at downtown and other commercial areas look like.  It is divided in three sections inside where you can put paper, cans, and bottles.  Ignore the picture of the guy holding the carrot as if it’s a microphone.  That is just an advertisement of a grocery store called Peak of the Market.  And just so that you don’t have to wonder why there’s no snow in this picture, this one was taken last the summer.



Entry filed under: Winnipeg.

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38 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sidney  |  January 24, 2007 at 2:08 am

    It seems to be very well organized! We could learn from it !

  • 2. Swipe  |  January 24, 2007 at 2:34 am

    I never really knew that snow can be such a pain in the ass. I used to think that it’s all sugar and spice and everything nice. Now I’m just glad I don’t live in a place that has so much snow.

  • 3. Jayred  |  January 24, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Based on your description, I think that Canada has a better recycling system than Switzerland.

  • 4. Leah  |  January 24, 2007 at 10:33 am

    You dont have the green bin yet? The Green Bin Program allows you to put your organic waste out for curbside collection. The organic material will be made into high-quality compost for farmlands and parklands. We started in our city last summer and I really like it coz most of our waste come from know peels, seeds from fruits, uneaten stuff, etc, etc. So its our way of saving the environment na rin; to think more of the things we put in the garbage and which bin to put it in.

  • 5. Belle  |  January 24, 2007 at 11:39 am

    In bigger city where I used to live, we did the same thing. Now, that I live up in the mountains, we throw everything in one garbage can and gets dumped somewhere.

    Look at those mounds of snow! When is it going to melt? Next spring? Ours is melting by the minute on the sunny side but not on the shady area.

  • 6. eric  |  January 24, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Those things are called dumpsters in NY.

    Thank God you have no problem with racoons giong through the garbage.

    Seems like your city has a well-organized system.

  • 7. bw  |  January 24, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Reminds me when we were in Zurich we took pictures with a huge metal cratel in the background with lots of German words.. We asked a local later on to tell us what the words meant … it was a garbage dump 🙂 But again, the place was so clean…. 🙂

  • 8. Cai  |  January 24, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks for reminding me – it’s basura day tomorrow. Our neighborhood’s trash collection is like yours. I forgot how it was in the Philippines – probably not so orderly, eh?

  • 9. verns  |  January 24, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Niceheart 🙂

    Before anything else I wonder what the reaction of your neighbors are upon seeing you taking a picture of your garbage bins lol

    Seriously wow….it’s pretty organized and I bet people are really responsible there especially when it comes to segregating the recyclable materials from those that are not 🙂 I wish its the same here in the Phil but I don’t think it will ever happen…

  • 10. niceheart  |  January 24, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Sidney, that’s the reason Winnipeg is very clean. And we take pride in that. 🙂

    Swipe, inspite of the hassles, snow can be fun too. There are lots of activities that people enjoy in the snow, like ice skating, sledding, snowmobiling, etc.

  • 11. niceheart  |  January 24, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Jayred, I think I still remember your post about recycling in Switzerland. Very tedious sorting. Here, we just put all recyclables loosely in the blue boxes.

    Belle, what do you mean it gets dumped somewhere? Don’t you just have a particular place where you dump garbage?

    Snow starts to melt here around March – April.

  • 12. niceheart  |  January 24, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    No raccoons, Eric. But our backyard is sometimes visited by this rabbit, must be a stray, who chews a hole through our garbage bag.

    BW, good thing it only said garbage dump. What if it was some curse words. 🙂

  • 13. niceheart  |  January 24, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    You know what, Cai. I’ve also forgotten how it was done in Manila. But I remember when I still lived in Cavite, when I was still a little girl, our landlady had a garbage pit in their backyard so that’s where we dumped our garbage. She was also in the pig business, so our left-over foods were collected as kaning-baboy.

    Verns, I had the feeling that I would be asked that question after what I had written in my previous post. 🙂 My neighbourhood is a residential area. When I do take a walk, I usually bring my camera with me. I go out early in the day or just after lunch, so there aren’t too many people in the streets. I do take my shots when nobody is looking. And unlike in the Philippines, there aren’t too many tambays here, especially during the winter time. Malamig kasi.

  • 14. verns  |  January 24, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    hehehe that’s what I figure 🙂 Oh well I do the same but here you know how it is hehe but everytime I’m asked why, I don’t find it irritating or something. Actually it’s funny. Good thing I can laugh at myself 🙂

  • 15. niceheart  |  January 25, 2007 at 12:27 am

    Sorry, Leah. Naiwan yung comment mo. Got caught in spam. No we don’t have the green bin. That is also a good idea. But during the fall, we also deposit our leaves at a particular place where they can be composted. Ganuon din after the Christmas holidays, for the Christmas trees, they get mulched.

  • 16. Major Tom  |  January 25, 2007 at 12:59 am

    It is such an efficient garbage collection system you got there. It is such a huge problem here especially in the very place where I live where one could smell that strong and pungent garbage smell while in the living room.

    Maybe, our local gov’t should start requiring each household to have a metal garbage bin so that whenever the garbage trucks are not yet scheduled to come, the garbage won’t smell throughout the neighborhood.

  • 17. Prab  |  January 25, 2007 at 1:27 am

    I remember reading somewhere that the only reason recyclables become trash is when they’re mixed with biodegradables such as left over food.

    It’s a shame though that the local version here seems to be not working. I don’t know of many recycling plants either. All I know that the local government is doing is to add one dumpsite to another. Heck, even Boracay’s having the trash problem.

    A really nice post, niceheart. Big eye opener ‘to. 🙂

  • 18. kathy  |  January 25, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Interesting post about how your garbage collection works in your part of the world. Here it is a bit more “complicated” because different types of garbage are collected on specified days only – we separate burnable, unburnable, PET bottles, glassware, cans, and large-sized garbage like furniture and/or appliances like TV. To avoid confusion, residents are given color-coded calendars as guide.

  • 19. Kyels  |  January 25, 2007 at 11:39 am

    The garbage trucks are literally better than the ones that we have back here, honestly; from the looks of it … Nyahaha.

  • 20. vic  |  January 25, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    The comp[any used to be called ..Browning-Ferris Industries Ltd.., but now just BFI. I hope my information is true. It’s operation is Canada Wide and perhaps worldwide. During my first several years I live in apt. we had in every floor of Apartment a Garbage Chute, usually next to the side of the elevators. so we can dispose our garbage anytime of day down the big Blue Bin and pick by the truck when regularly.

    Now at home we have five different containers for different kind of refuse. And the pick up is only once a week for wet garbage and bi-weekly for recyclables and dry garbage and plants clippings.

  • 21. ann  |  January 25, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Kung ganyan lang sana sa pinas no? Kaya lang kulang na sa budget , kulang pa sa pagsunod ang mga tao. Mukhang sosi naman yang mga garbage nyo kasi may snow pa sa paligid.

  • 22. pining  |  January 25, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    Hi niceheart 🙂 here in England, we have two bins: the grey bin and the green bin. Grey for whatever rubbish and the green for biodegradable ones. Each one is collected every week, alternately. And this morning I almost missed the collection for the grey bin and its full to the brim. It’s good to recycle but sometimes it can be a real pain!

  • 23. niceheart  |  January 25, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    Verns, you sound like a very giggly girl. 🙂

    Major Tom and Prab, every kababayan can only hope to have an organized garbage collection. But we also have to think that it would cost a lot of money. According to the City of Winnipeg website, garbage collection here costs $16.5 million dollars per year.

    Kathy, that seems to be a lot of work to be sorting all your garbage like that. But I guess it works there because as I have read from your posts, the Japanese people seem to be very disciplined.

  • 24. niceheart  |  January 25, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    Why Kyels? What do your garbage trucks there look like?

    Vic, thank you for that information. I have always wondered what BFI means. 🙂 So five container, huh? Looks like Winnipeg is behind pa pala when it comes to saving the environment.

  • 25. niceheart  |  January 25, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Ann, sabi ko nga kay Major Tom and Prab, malaking gastos if we want an organized garbage collection para sa Pinas. Kaya nasa tao na nga lang siguro ang pag-asa.

    PIning, so I guess it’s pretty much the same here and there. I don’t mind recycling. I’ve gotten used to it. Sometimes I even pick up from our garbage can recyclables that the kids have thrown there. 🙂

  • 26. tutubi  |  January 26, 2007 at 12:08 am

    can u send one of those trucks here? we badly need all the help we can get 🙂

    btw, care to exchange links?

  • 27. rhodora  |  January 26, 2007 at 3:24 am

    Irene, I have read your reply to my comment in your Don’t Touch Me entry. Thanks so much.

    I also got your comment in my blog. If you noticed, it was classified as Spam. But that’s okay, I can recover it anyway. Just feel free to leave comments, if you happen to drop by. It’s my Spam Eater kasi, over reacting, kinakain lahat. Siguro, kulang sa pansin (KSP)… hehehe.

  • 28. Prab  |  January 26, 2007 at 4:20 am

    It would be expensive in the long run IMO if the country doesn’t come up with something for the management of our garbage. After all, land that could be put to more productive use has to be used for dumpsites instead.

  • 29. haze  |  January 26, 2007 at 6:54 am

    We also have trucks but not as beautiful and clean as this one 🙂 ! Got garbage bins to segregate plastic from botlles, papers and cartons but not everyone is willing to do it. We need discipline especially the habitants of Marseille 😦 ! Personally, at home we are religiously doing it to protect our environment and that our children should profit and enjoy a clean environment.

    BTW, finished with my tag 🙂 ! Thanks Niceheart sorry it took me time co’z children were sick, they feel better now.

  • 30. sexy mom  |  January 26, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    this post is best presented to our local officials here in manila, and of course to homeowners alike. oh, when will there be order? even garbage alone, quezon city could not manage it.

    how i wish…your post has made me feel good, just by wishing and looking at the pictures depicting cleanliness of surroundings.

  • 31. niceheart  |  January 26, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    Tutubi, sure, I’d like to exchange links. But I don’t know how to send the garbage trucks. 🙂

    You’re welcome Rhodora. So kinain pala ng spam. I also get a lot of those.

    Prab, you’re probably right. I haven’t been back there in a long time so I don’t know the current garbage situation there.

  • 32. niceheart  |  January 26, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    Haze, no problem. I know you’re busy with kids and then they got sick pa. Thanks for doing the tag. Btw, I did not take that picture of the truck. It was on BFI’s website. Our garbage trucks are smaller than that one and not as clean.

    Sexy mom, glad to know that my post made you feel good. 🙂

  • 33. KD  |  January 27, 2007 at 12:16 am

    When we go to other places in the world and see that they have such efficient community services like garbage collection etc, and how they take good care with their environs, nakakalungkot isipin kasi sa atin makikita mo yung gabundok na basura sa sidewalk, yung mga tao na kung saan saan lang tinatapon ang mga basura nila, yung nga bus na maiitim ang usok na binubuga.
    Maganda dyan kasi nakikita mo where your taxes go, sa atin alam din natin kung saan napupunta…hayyy

  • 34. niceheart  |  January 27, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    KD, I didn’t realize that this post would spark sadness in our kababayans like you. Hindi ko kasi alam kung gaano karumi sa atin. Kasi nakikita ko dun sa mga picture ni Señor Enrique na malilinis naman ang kalsada. I guess meron ding lugar na malinis at meron din namang marumi.

  • 35. KD  |  January 27, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    Pasensya ka na kung in a way ay na-offend kita sa comment ko ha. I don’t have any intentions to do so, in fact i liked your topic; very informative.
    Siguro Its just my wishful thinking na sana mamulat ang mga namumuno sa ating gubyerno pati ang ating mga kababayan na ngayon ay dapat na seriyosohin ang pangangalaga sa ating kalikasan. With all these mudslides, flooding and other disasters happening in other parts of the Philippines, I think mother nature is really pissed off
    Maaring malilinis na ang mga (ibang) kalsada ngunit ang mga tambakan ng basura ay reaching saturation point na.

  • 36. niceheart  |  January 27, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Don’t worry, KD. Hindi naman ako na-offend. Na-touch lang kasi ako sa mga sentiments ng mga nag-comment dito regarding the situation back home.

  • 37. Prab  |  January 28, 2007 at 7:38 am

    I just remembered a conversation Ellie and I had with a taxi driver some time last week. Ellie pointed out and the driver agreed that the Payatas area (the place of the infamous dumpsite where a garbage landslide that killed lot of people) was clean before the government started dumping garbage in the area.

    It’s sad, again, that it looks like the country’s slowly ending up to be a giant garbage dumpsite.

  • 38. garbage day  |  June 3, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    […] so we put our garbage out in the front at the curb on the night before garbage day or at least … of ColumbiaWelcome to the official website of the Government of the District of Columbia. […]


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