Clear

Winnipeg, MB

8°c Clear

Full Forecast

Bob Cox

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Banana peels and other organic material overlooked in recycling

Posted: 09/3/2014 10:15 AM | Comments: 0

Advertisement

  • Print

I'm waiting for the day when I see a sticker on a mailbox saying: "No Bananas, Please. Save Our Planet."

You see, organic material is one of the biggest contributors to residential waste that goes to landfills in Manitoba. Yet it is often overlooked while people focus on other things that are not going to the dump.

Like newspapers. The most recent statistics show newspapers are recycled at a higher rate than any other material in Manitoba -- 97.5 per cent of newsprint that enters the market is recycled. That's an amazing success story.

Paper overall has a recycling rate of 92.5 per cent. The next most successful substance is glass, at 70.8 per cent.

Yet there persists among some the preception that paper is an environmental problem.

It's visible, high profile, and people generally don't know what happens to it.

Plastic bags are in a similar situation. They make up a minuscule part of the waste stream yet often are targetted by well-meaning authorities. Plastic bag use has fallen by 46.7 per cent since 2007 in Manitoba and half of the remaining retail plastic bags that go into homes are re-used for tasks such as collecting other garbage and picking up after your dog.

Why is any of this important? As Free Press writer Bruce Owen reported last week, the provincial government is developing an ambitious plan to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills. Serious discussion of this initiative requires some knowledge about what is really contributing to waste.

Manitobans send more garbage to dumps per capita than almost anywhere else in Canada. And a lot of it is stuff you don't think about.

Between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of waste material sent to landfills is organic material -- all those banana peels, carrot tops, corn husks, grass clippings, dead leaves, etc.

Most places in the province don't collect organics. The City of Winnipeg has taken some steps, such as regular collection of yard waste, but does not yet have a comprehensive plan.

Then there are all the other contributors to waste. About half comes from the industrial, commercial and institutional sector. About 20 per cent comes from construction, renovation and demolition.

I have to provide full disclosure here. I sit on the board of Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba, the industry-funded agency that operates a province-wide recycling program for packaging and printed paper. Business that put packaging, including bottles and cans, and printed paper into the consumer market have paid for 80 per cent of municipal recycling programs since 2010.

MMSM has done a great deal of work to improve recycling programs. As we take the next step towards reducing our waste, it's important to know what's already being recycled and where we should be looking next.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.