The Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (CBCRA) recently announced that in 2016 it achieved a 70% recovery rate of empty beverage containers sold in Manitoba, which allows the Province to now boast the continent’s fastest, continuously-growing beverage container recovery rate. Manitoba’s unique beverage container recycling model is quickly making a mark on the recycling landscape in Canada.  RSE has a full service management contract to operate CBCRA and all of its programs and has been involved from the 2010 implementation of CBCRA to its current phase.

Recycling in Manitoba

Manitoba’s recovery of PPP (Packaging and Printed Paper) is based on a comprehensive recycling system that includes a broad range of materials – not only beverage containers. Consumers in Manitoba can recycle their beverage containers at home in the Blue Box, or out and about through Recycle Everywhere’s very extensive public space recycling program.

CBCRA, whose membership consists of beverage brand owners and distributors, is committed to reaching the government-mandated target of recovering 75% of beverage containers sold in Manitoba. To do this CBCRA implemented and operates the Recycle Everywhere program.

The Manitoba program is different from others across Canada, as it is the only place you can find a province-wide public space recycling program with very extensive and sustained Promotion and Education outreach . From one corner of the province to another, Recycle Everywhere has partnered with communities, municipalities, schools, businesses, institutions, parks, festivals and events throughout Manitoba to provide them with the best Recycle Everywhere bin for their space free of charge. Partners simply arrange for the collection of the recovered beverage containers with a recycler.

Success to Date

CBCRA has successfully increased the recovery rate from 42% in 2010 to 70% by the end of 2016, which is the largest increase from 2010-2016 of any jurisdiction in North America. Remarkable on its own, the 70% recovery rate is in some ways simply a marker for a much larger and lasting impact that CBCRA and Recycle Everywhere are having in Manitoba. With over 55,000 Recycle Everywhere bins distributed for free to public spaces across the province, more Manitobans have access to beverage container recycling at work, home, and at play than ever before.

This high level of access, combined with Recycle Everywhere’s province-wide education programming has helped Manitobans make the right decision of recycling their empty beverage containers rather than throwing them in the garbage. The innovative awareness campaigns engage Manitobans, educating them about what beverage containers can become when recycled, why recycling is important, and how to do it.  Annual third-party research has shown that these campaigns have a clear and positive impact on recycling attitudes and behaviours that go much beyond simply recycling beverage containers, but also impacts how consumers think about recycling all kinds of products and packaging.

That education and thinking begins in schools and over 97% of students have access to recycling in primary and secondary schools because of Recycle Everywhere’s school program – no other province has this kind of extensive province-wide program.  Students bring this message home to parents, and eventually grow up and become parents – whole generations change the way they think about our resources. Lasting impact happens in classrooms across the province.

What is more, a lasting result of beverage containers being recycled is that the litter rate in major Manitoba centres has gone down dramatically. How dramatically? In Brandon the litter rate has decreased by 75% and in Winnipeg by 41%.  Recycling is no longer just the “right thing to do”, it leaves cityscapes and streets cleaner making citizens proud of their communities and neighbourhoods.

RSE is pleased to take its multi-faceted experience and apply this to making CBCRA and beverage container recycling successful.  Creating province-wide access, educating people so they take the right actions is not a simple mechanical process but requires clear vision, planning and determined execution.  Manitobans are realizing the importance and benefits of recycling, that turning empty beverage containers into new containers and other products is part of the circular economy and is good for everyone.