Why do we need to recycle? Here are some recycling basics

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Blue bin? Black bin? It can be tedious to segregate waste, so what’s the difference? Here’s why you need to know the difference.

What is recycling?

Recycling is the collection of used materials that would otherwise be waste to be broken down and remade into new products (Science Daily). Generally, it reduces waste. It is part of the “three Rs” of waste management: reduce, reuse, recycle – the simplified guide to a sustainable life.

Why recycle?

Did you know that Canadians toss out nearly 25,000 tonnes of residential trash every year? Trash is either put into landfills or incinerated. This waste largely contributes to environmental problems such as habitat destruction, surface and groundwater pollution, and other forms of air, soil and water contamination. This is why reducing waste is crucial to our survival.

According to Recycle Manitoba: Recycling protects our natural resources, saves landfill space, conserves energy, and reduces water and air pollution as well as the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. You are saving the planet when you recycle!

How do Manitobans recycle?

Manitobans are environmentally friendly people. In fact, recycling has increased in the province by 16% since 2010. In 2017, Manitobans collected more than 85 thousand tonnes of packaging and printed paper. This is an average of 70 kg per person. Last year, Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba (MMSM) recovered 61.9% of packaging and printed paper in the province (Simply Recycle).

But we could always do more. Aside from using blue bins properly anywhere, we can reduce waste by:

  1. Throwing recyclable items properly. For example, fold paper and flatten boxes before putting them inside your blue bin. Also, take off plastic components from boxes.
  2. Don’t put plastic bags in your recycle bin. Plastic bags are recyclable but it is done in a different equipment as the process is complex. You can drop them off at major grocery stores and retailers for recycling.
  3. Don’t throw away old clothes and toys. Give them to charity.
  4. Clean plastic, glass and metal containers if possible before you put them in the blue bin. You will be helping sorting centre employees as this ensures that mold and unpleasant smells would not develop.

For more tips: Helpful hints and tips from Simply Recycle

What should you put in the blue bin?

Recycling guideRecycling guide

Recycling Guide from Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba.

Download the Garbage and Recycling Services Guide to know more about disposing waste properly. You can also use the Recycle Manitoba website to check if a material is recyclable or not or to find a collection site.

Where do we dispose of items that do not fit the cart like furniture?

In Winnipeg, City services can pick up additional garbage bags or large items like appliances and furniture for an additional fee. You should call 311 for pick up. Check the schedules and fees on this page: Large items (bulky waste). If you can wait, you can dispose of large furniture, appliances and other unwanted items during the giveaway weekend in Winnipeg. Giveway weekend is scheduled every spring and fall, the weekend before May long weekend and the weekend after September long weekend. You can simply place these items at the curb on your front street and label them “free.”

Need help more help?

If you want to know more about recycling or how to help your family and community reduce waste, go to these sites:
Winnipeg Water and Waste Department
Simply Recycle
Recycle Manitoba

Sources: Simply recycle.ca; Recycle Manitoba; Water and waste department, Winnipeg.ca; Waste generation, Conference Board of Canada; and Disposal of waste by source (2008-2016), Statistics Canada. Accessed January 25, 2019.

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