Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/2/2009 (4478 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Around 80 city offices recycle only paper and cardboard, said the city's solid waste manager, Darryl Drohomerski, despite Winnipeg's long-standing residential recycling program.
And until last week, the list included city hall, where employees can now recycle the usual array of items as part of a new pilot project.
In June, the city plans to bring "comingled" recycling to the rest of the city-run facilities, meaning city employees will be able to toss all the usual recyclables in one bin, instead of just paper and cardboard.
"I can't tell you why it's taken so long," Mayor Sam Katz said Tuesday. "I can tell you, in the mayor's office we took certain initiatives. One was to no longer use plastic bottles because it's not good for the environment."
Manitoba's poor recycling record made headlines last month as being one of the worst in the country.
Until recently, thousands of city employees who bought drinks in plastic bottles had to throw them away after using them, or recycle them at home.
Drohomerski said he wasn't sure what became of recyclable trash that wound up in the paper-only bins.
Katz said the recycling issue predates him at city hall.
"This goes back God knows how far before me," he said. "I just know the issue was raised and we have it done. Why it wasn't happening in years gone by, I can't tell you."
The new program will cost about $50,000 per year to run, said Drohomerski.
Not all city buildings lag behind. Most public facilities like swimming pools and rinks have offered full recycling for eight years. Winnipeg's residential recycling program is more than a decade old, and recycling for apartments and condos goes back to 2001.
A government spokesman said programs at provincial offices to collect cardboard, plastic, aluminum and other recyclables go back to 2002.
The city's recycling record came as news to one sustainability advocate.
"I am certainly surprised if city hall has not had a more complete recycling program," said Resource Conservation Manitoba executive director Randall McQuaker. "And good for them for finally taking the step of implementing one."
Winnipeg's three-year paper and cardboard recycling contract with BFI ends May 31, and Drohomerksi said a new contract tender will go out soon to get ready for the new program in June.
He said an earlier pilot project at the city's water and waste and public works departments generated a relatively low volume of recyclable waste.
"For the first 12 months, we were incredibly underwhelmed by the amount of material we collected," he said.
Not all lunch-box waste goes in the trash at city offices. Drohomerski said many buildings have some kind of aluminum can recycling program, run with groups like the Shriners.
City councillor Jenny Gerbasi recently chaired the mayor's environmental advisory committee before resigning, in part over budget and staffing issues.
She said the existing recycling program at city hall drew some complaints, and suspects some staffers might not have known only paper and cardboard were recycled.
"It did always seem odd that we couldn't have a better program, so it's certainly an improvement," she said.
-- With files from Bartley Kives
Trash talk in Winnipeg
NOT all Winnipeg public buildings lag behind city hall. Most facilities like swimming pools and rinks have offered full recycling for eight years. The residential recycling program is more than a decade old and recycling for apartments and condos goes back to 2001.
'I am certainly surprised if city hall has not had a more complete recycling program. And good for them for finally taking the step of implementing one'
-- Resource Conservation Manitoba executive director Randall McQuaker