Our ongoing research and audits show us how effective our strategy is and helps inform our decisions. No matter where a beverage container is consumed in our province, we need to ensure the public knows what to do with it, and where to access a recycling bin. Our research from this year will guide us and helps us be more effective.
We determine our recovery rate by dividing the amount of beverage containers recovered by the amount of beverage containers supplied into Manitoba. We first determine the number of beverage containers sold in Manitoba, based on monthly online reports by beverage producers. These numbers are verified by the beverage companies’ auditors. At the end of the year, we have the exact total annual sales for Manitoba.
We then calculate our recovery rate by collecting data from many different sources, including multiple annual waste audits at recycling processors, at-home collection in single and multi-family dwellings, and waste audits of away-from-home bins that come from Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (IC&I) locations, public events and private sector collections. This gives us the amount of beverage containers that were recovered, known as our total recovery. This number is divided by the total sales to calculate the recovery rate.
We have worked for an enjoyed success since our program's inception in 2010, increasing the overall recovery rate from 42 to 69 per cent to the end of 2018. This includes a recovery rate of 77% for PET (polyethylene).
CBCRA is committed to reaching its target of recovering 75 per cent of beverage containers sold into the province.
In order to understand disposal practices and waste makeup, CBCRA uses waste audits to evaluate the effectiveness of waste management systems and consumer behaviour in various public spaces. By measuring the number of beverage containers placed in the recycling and waste streams over a set period of time, we are able to evaluate behaviours and identify opportunities for improvement.
In 2018, we conducted 16 waste audits: ten in Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (IC&I) locations, five in city of Winnipeg municipal spaces, and one in a residential area.
Overall, the results of each audit showed that there is a need for additional education on what can and can’t go in our Recycle Everywhere bins to help increase the recovery rate and reduce contamination.
CBCRA regularly conducts MRF audits to help measure the performance of the beverage container recycling system. This involves auditing materials on the tip floor when they arrive comingled at material recovery facilities, as well as measuring the MRF performance by auditing material from the specific material bunkers after sorting has taken place. These two types of audits are an integral step in helping us determine our recovery rate.
We conducted two sets of audits in 2018, the first set of seven facilities in the spring, and the second set of eight facilities in the fall. Each year we continue these audits to identify areas in need of attention and move us closer to our goal.
Throwing a single-use coffee cup or a pizza box with some leftover pizza into a Recycle Everywhere bin may not seem like a big deal, but items like these can contaminate the rest of the items in the bin. This makes them difficult to recycle, and where the contamination is too great all of it, including the beverage containers, may be sent by the haulers to landfill.
Contamination may be unintended and may be due to the public’s overall eagerness to recycle. However, knowing what can and can’t go into our beverage recycling bins is key to eliminating the problem.
The top contaminates in Recycle Everywhere bins are: disposable coffee cups, leftover liquids, food waste, Styrofoam, # 6 plastic, soiled food containers, and fountain drink cups. In the province of Manitoba the whole coffee cup, including the lid, is not currently recyclable and they are not accepted in Recycle Everywhere bins.
Leftover liquid in beverage containers can spill and cause contamination of paper products before or at the recycling facilities, reducing their value or sending them to the landfill. CBCRA is responsible for the recovery of used, sealed beverage containers. Our Recycle Everywhere bins are meant for aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles, cartons and juice boxes. These items don’t need to be rinsed, simply emptied.
Since we were formed in 2010, we have partnered with third-party environmental consulting firms to conduct litter audits on our behalf.
At first the audits were only done in Winnipeg and Brandon, but over the years we’ve expanded the audits to include Portage la Prairie, Steinbach, Flin Flon and Thompson, the largest communities in Manitoba.
These audits help measure the impact of both Recycle Everywhere beverage container recycling bins as well as the program’s promotion and education efforts.
In 2018, litter audits were conducted during the last two weeks of June. Since the initial baseline years, there has been a very significant reduction in beverage container litter in all five cities where litter audits were conducted. Additionally, without any other litter programs the overall litter rate has been improved.
Figure 1 illustrates the trends in CBCRA beverage container litter since 2010 and shows that CBCRA beverage container litter has steadily declined in each city.