Paper being baled at the Materials Recovery Facility

What is the goal of the City’s recycling program?

The goal is to sell the material at the highest net cost for the best available end use.  The cost of recycling is offset by the material we sell.

How is the recycling program funded?

The net cost of the residential recycling (the cost of collecting and processing minus the amount received from the sale of the material) program is funded 80% through Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba, an industry stewardship organization .

What does the City’s recycling program collect?

Residents can recycle:

  • plastic containers with a recycling triangle on the bottom, including all bottles, pails, tubs, and jugs
  • cardboard (e.g., cereal, cracker, tissue, laundry detergent, shoe, or packing boxes, egg cartons and paper tubes)
  • aluminum drink cans
  • steel (tin) food cans
  • milk and juice cartons
  • juice boxes
  • glass jars and bottles (clear and coloured)
  • newspapers and inserts, flyers, junk mail
  • magazines, household paper, envelopes, shredded paper

Why doesn’t the City collect and recycle everything?

Recycling programs across North America, including Winnipeg, all collect a core group of materials such as paper and aluminum.  Depending on the location to a market, some cities also collect additional products.  Before we can add a new product to the list of items that can be recycled, we determine if:

  • there is a market,
  • the market can accept the volume of material, and
  • it makes environmental and financial sense to recycle that item.

For example, foam products are not accepted in the program because there are no markets close enough to accept the volume we would produce.

Where does our recycling go?

Like cities across North America, we ship most of the material to businesses around the world, from Selkirk to Western Canada to the United States and to Asia.  There aren’t enough local markets for all our material.

What does the future look like for recycling in Winnipeg?

  • What kind of materials should the City of Winnipeg recycling program collect?
  • Should the City of Winnipeg and Province of Manitoba work together towards creating local markets?  If yes, how could we do it?
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4 Responses to Recycling: What do we collect and where does it go?

  1. Peter says:

    Metals, in addition to the beverage containers you currently collect, all meet your 3 criteria:
    ■there is a market,
    ■the market can accept the volume of material, and
    ■it makes environmental and financial sense to recycle that item.

    Moreover, Gerdau Ameristeel in Selkirk is a local industry that produces steel products from the scrap it purchases.

    So why doesn't the city collect scrap metal in the blue box? Currently one must drive to a scrap dealer to get rid of the stuff, which entails extra driving and is not worthwhile for small household quantities.

    • SpeakUpWinnipeg says:

      Scrap metal is not currently collected in the blue box because the materials recovery facility is designed to handle containers, not durable metal goods.

      There is currently a scrap metal drop off area at Brady Road Landfill and that material is diverted.

      Thank you for your comments and this is something that we can take into consideration for the plan.

  2. Jonathan says:

    How would apartments move to an automated bin service for recycling and garbage. Would every unit have a rolling bin they would put out, or would they have to keep the autobins?

    • SpeakUpWinnipeg says:

      Hi Jonathan, we are still working on developing strategies for multi-family garbage, recycling and organics. Apartments and condos come in all shapes and sizes so the type of service each unit would receive would depend on the circumstances.