Eastman Recycling Services in Steinbach will shut down, ending a 29-year run, as accelerating automation in the industry replaces manual labour opportunities.
The recycling plant, located along Industrial Road, "will be slowly winding down its services over the next year," parent organization enVision said yesterday in a release.
enVision created Eastman Recycling in 1992.
"All along enVision’s core purpose at ERS was to create meaningful work for people who live with an intellectual disability, and we have done that for many years," Jeannette DeLong, executive director of enVision, said.
"In recent years we have seen the recycling industry move into a highly automated model while we have continued to operate with hands-on labour. Keeping up with the industry, along with increasing operational and capital costs, and managing increased liabilities, is pulling us away from our original purpose," DeLong said.
More than 60 individuals who live with an intellectual disability worked at Eastman Recycling over the years. Nine currently work there.
"We are very proud of what we have achieved at ERS over the years, together with staff and the people we support. We look forward to conversations about how recycling will continue in the region, and the possibility of the sale of ERS," DeLong said.
Eastman Recycling currently services 10,781 households and is contracted by four municipalities.