Randy Park, Supervisor or Waste Diversion with the City of Winnipeg takes us on a tour of the Materials Recovery Facility to show what happens to the recyclables that go into your Blue Box. Approximately 90% of all material going to Brady landfill can actually be recycled. Can we do more to save money and save the environment?


Hello, I’m Randy Park, Supervisor or Waste Diversion with the City of Winnipeg.

I’m here at the Materials Recovery Facility —MRF for short— to show you what happens to the recyclables that go into your Blue Box.

This facility processes all the recyclables collected from homes, apartments, and recycling depots. The material is separated, baled and shipped to manufacturers who turn them into valuable new products.

Over 45,000 tonnes of material are collected every year from 270,000 homes. That’s an average of 170 kg of recyclables per household each year.

Of the materials that come into the MRF, approximately 65% are paper products and the remaining 35% are food and beverage containers.

After the material from your Blue Box arrives at MRF, the paper materials are separated from the beverage containers by star screens, a series of shafts fitted with rotating cams shaped like stars.

The soft paper is propelled forward, while the more rigid beverage containers fall through the openings between the shafts.

Over 90 per cent of the paper is removed mechanically by the star screens, with the remainder, along with any contaminants, removed by people on a sorting line.

The beverage containers that have fallen through the star screens continue through the equipment to the beverage container sort line.

Before being manually sorted, the containers pass under a magnet to remove ferrous metals, and through a glass breaker screen to remove glass.

Then an eddy current system removes aluminum cans.

Finally, what’s remaining is a low grade mixed plastic material.

The individual materials are then baled and placed in the shipping area where they will be sold and sent to manufacturing plants all over the world.

Winnipeg residents are recycling more than ever. Over the past decade, we’ve nearly doubled our recycling from 23,000 tonnes to 45,000 tonnes each year.

Almost half of a million tonnes of material have been diverted from the City’s landfill since 1995. This may seem a lot, but it is just a small percentage of what we could be recycling.

For every aluminum can we recycle, 4 go to the landfill. That’s more than 1 million dollars worth of aluminum that we’re throwing into our garbage every year.

Approximately 90% of all material going to Brady landfill can actually be recycled.

Can we do more to save money and save the environment?

Tagged with:

Comments for this post are now closed.

4 Responses to Video: Tour of the Materials Recovery Facility (recycling plant)

  1. Richy Rich says:

    You do realize Recycling IS HUGE business and makes a service we all pay for with tax money a bunch of profit on top of what we are paying.They switched us to a small can for reg garbage 1.now only one person needed to collect garbage instead of 3-4 people 2. not enough room for reg garbage so people forced to recycle more.3. They won't pay to have a Dirty MRF where they do the sorting<if they wan't the $ from my cans they should dig through my stinky garbage to get it. We are paying for the cost of the material when we buy the product so really if they wan't it they should re-open sites that pay people for there recyclables.Don't think they are doing us a favor by recyling it is HUGE bussiness and if it even broke even<cost them what they get back in return with no loss or profit> They would never recycle.

    I am all for recycling -hate to waste but if they are going to charge the city<us through taxes> PLUS make truck loads of cash as PROFIT for there corporation -this is not fair and they should get less $ from us to collect our trash or they should be paying us for our recyclables. Think- the companies are laughing at us as well they buy recyclable material for way cheaper keep the price the same or even increase it and act like they are doing us a favor by helping the environment if it did not MAKE/SAVE them money no way would they do it.
    Re-open the pay for recyclable stations of back in the day, but they never will they get our very valuable materials for free and make a ton off of it. Garbage.if they were not making much money off of it then they would not do it. If they figure they are missing 90% of recyables then watch for a dirty MRF to arrive soon.

  2. HOWARD says:


  3. Aaron says:

    The city should include notes about the costs of waste right on the tax bill every year. Recycling should also be mandatory, if you don't put out recycling bins with your garbage, it should be refused pickup.

  4. Roger Gateson says:

    Why do we recycle such a small percentage? Lack of public awareness and convenience are likely 2 factors. Recently it has been made easier to recycle in some public spaces. That's good! Education in schools, more recycling bins on the streets, making easier disposal of hazardous materials, would all reduce volumes at the landfill. If organics are a major contributor, then a large public composting system including regular pickup would be logical. More information about the costs of NOT recycling should be made public!