Good recycling behaviours start at a young age, we need recycling champions to lead the way for generations to come. There is also a high volume of beverage containers that are consumed within elementary, middle, and high-schools. As such, school based recycling performance and maximizing overall recycling rates are directly related. Recycle Everywhere 101 (RE101) is an educational initiative of the Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (CBCRA) that puts recycling tools and resources in the hands of students and teachers to boost beverage container recycling. The program, launched in 2013 as part of the Recycle Everywhere program in Manitoba, is working with primary and secondary schools across the Province to increase recycling rates in schools.
RE101 is hugely successful and effective and has experienced great uptake and support from students, schools, school divisions, and the provincial government. This has yielded incredible results with 92% of Manitoba schools partnering with the program. This means that 97% of Manitoba students now have access to effective and attractive beverage container recycling as a result of the RE101 program.
RE101 is designed to provide schools with all the tools they need to have a comprehensive beverage container recycling program including recycling bins and promotional materials. The project provides both infrastructure that enables action, and action that enables learning. With recycling bins placed next to all waste bins in a school, children and young adults are given the opportunity to be the change makers. When they leave school and go home, they are the instrument of education for their parents or guardian who may choose to put an empty juice box into the waste bin because they are not aware that it is in fact recyclable. Children and young adults have the opportunity to create a ripple effect with what they learn and be a catalyst for change in others.
The impact of the program goes beyond infrastructure, it is a unique opportunity to bring recycling awareness and education into the classroom. It is the only program with a clear focus on increased beverage container recovery that engages students across all demographics. Educational resources, operational and logistical assistance is available to administration, teachers, custodial staff, and students. Because of this, there has been a positive shift in attitudes and mindset across Manitoban schools regarding beverage container recycling. And the spillover effect results in increased recycling of other packaging as well. Through the RE101 program, a high standard has been set for other provinces and jurisdictions to boost recycling rates within their own schools.
On a daily basis RE101 continues to directly encourage young Manitobans to adopt good recycling behaviours and whether at school, home, work, or play, empty beverage containers are given a life beyond the landfill.