The Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (CBCRA) began its journey by making it easier for people to recycle their empty beverage containers through expanding Manitoba’s public space recycling infrastructure. This remains a core activity. But people need to recycle all the time, not just when one of our bins makes it convenient. We know in order to create this meaningful behavioural change, a solid consumer understanding needs to exist.
The infrastructure implementation, awareness building, community and partner outreach, education, and engagement activities shared in this report are ultimately designed to instil enduring recycling habits. That is how we are continuing to make a lasting impact.
Since day one, the Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (CBCRA) and its Recycle Everywhere program has had one goal – to increase beverage container recovery in Manitoba. 2016 was my first year as Chairman of the CBCRA Board of Directors, and I am proud to say this was a significant year. We achieved a record high of 70% of all beverage containers being recycled across the province – and are closer than ever to reaching our goal. This puts the recycling rate in Manitoba on par with jurisdictions that have cumbersome and costly deposit programs.
CBCRA was founded in 2010 as a not-for-profit, industry-funded organization. Our membership includes beverage brand owners and distributors. CBCRA is committed to reaching or exceeding the government-mandated target of recovering 75% of beverage containers sold in Manitoba. Our biggest achievement to date is the success of our Recycle Everywhere program. Through this initiative we have developed educational programs in Manitoba that show the importance and value of beverage container recycling, and ensure that it is convenient to recycle empty beverage containers no matter where citizens live, work, or play.
This program would not be possible without the support of beverage retailers and producers; those companies who sell sealed beverage containers in Manitoba. Their support of Manitoba’s unique beverage container recycling system has allowed us to reach the heights that we have today. By the end of 2016, we distributed 52,000 Recycle Everywhere bins to public spaces across the province. This number is only growing as we work to increase beverage container recycling accessibility at a relentless pace.
We marked new and exciting initiatives for our program in 2016 as we continue to pioneer this unique recycling model in Manitoba. We had our first full partnership with a gas station company, as we worked with Manitoba Co-ops to outfit over 235 locations across the province with recycling infrastructure. These types of large-scale partnerships show the significant impact that the Recycle Everywhere program can have. In fact, when every gas bar in Manitoba follows suit, as many as 10 million additional beverage containers will be diverted from our landfills annually.
Another example of where CBCRA has had real impact is the Mini Bin project. Small, space saving recycling bins were offered for free to all Multi-Family Dwellings (MFDs) in Manitoba such as condos and apartments. By the end of 2016 we finished distributing 100,000 Mini Bins to MFDs, resulting in 80% of apartment tenants receiving a Mini Bin since we started this project in 2014.
Not only does Recycle Everywhere’s free bin infrastructure divert material from landfills, but it also leads to a decrease in litter on Manitoba’s city streets. Our third party litter audits show that year after year litter is decreasing in Manitoba’s major centres including Winnipeg, Brandon, Steinbach, Flin Flon and Thompson. In every instance, beverage container litter on city streets has decreased since the baseline audits began. We have found that other non-beverage litter is also decreasing, with no new litter abatement programs in place other than the introduction of Recycle Everywhere bins.
These are just a few examples of the dozens of initiatives that Recycle Everywhere undertakes each year to increase beverage container recycling in Manitoba. We are an innovative organization that gets things done, I would encourage you to review such initiatives in the pages of this report.
We thank Manitobans for continuing to support our program by recycling their empty beverage containers no matter where they are. I would also like to thank Minister Cox and the Ministry of Sustainable Development for their support in our efforts to achieve Manitoba’s goal of 75% recovery. We move ahead in 2017 with a strategic and action-oriented focus that will ensure we continue the momentum needed to reach our goal.
As CBCRA and its Recycle Everywhere program finishes its sixth full year in operation, we can reflect back and truly say that we have made significant and steady strides to reaching our goal of increasing beverage container recovery in Manitoba. 2016 marked the continuation of projects that increased beverage container accessibility and awareness, and brought new strategic and focused goals to the forefront. The relentless pursuit of our goal has resulted in the recovery rate increasing from 42% in 2010 to 70% at the end of 2016!
We approach our singular goal to increase beverage container recovery in different ways involving innovative and forward thinking solutions that achieve results. We have a two pronged approach that applies to all activities: firstly, ensuring that beverage container recycling is convenient and accessible in all corners of the province; and secondly, educating consumers on what to do with their empty beverage containers once they are done and the importance of these actions. By centring all initiatives around these two key pillars, we can ensure that consumers know what the right decision is, and have the access to make it.
In 2016, we reached new heights with our Recycle Everywhere 101 (RE101) schools program, with 92% of elementary, junior and high schools in the province partnered with us by year-end. This represents 784 schools, and 34 fully partnered school divisions. Over 97% of Manitoba students now have access to beverage container recycling as a result of the RE101 program. It is important that our youth be recycling crusaders for their family and friends, affecting change in and outside of the school yard. The RE101 program initiates and fosters this change.
Another noteworthy increase in accessibility includes great strides in the Industrial, Commercial & Institutional (IC&I) sector. Making beverage container recycling accessible in this area not only allows us to recover more beverage containers, it also gives citizens the option to recycle while at work, their favourite shopping centre, health facilities and more. In 2016 we expanded our reach into 498 more IC&I locations. We will not stop there, this sector continues to be a key focus as we push towards our goal.
Our Promotion & Education campaign once again took our message province-wide with a continuation of our 2015 “How Many Were Yours?” personal responsibility messaging. We challenged all Manitobans, in a light-hearted and creative way, to realize the impact their actions or inaction may have if they did not recycle their empty beverage containers. Manitobans responded to this message, with our research study showing that 86% of respondents agreed that they “have a personal responsibility to recycle”. In addition, recall of this campaign was at the highest level recorded since tracking of our annual campaigns began, nine-in-ten stating that they have encountered beverage container recycling advertising in the past few months.
CBCRA is always looking for new and creative ways to engage the public, 2016 was no different. We developed an app with augmented reality technology that was shown when the public searched for and interacted with specially marked Recycle Everywhere bins, rewarding recyclers for doing so.
All of these initiatives combined allow CBCRA to fuel a circular economy where materials are not treated as waste, but as a resource, and packaging is considered in the full product life cycle allowing beverage containers to have a new life after its contents are done. CBCRA is proud to be a part of this cycle, and will continue to increase beverage container recycling for the benefit of Manitobans, their communities, and the environment that we live in.