The 2015 Bag up Manitoba Plastic Bag Challenge has ended with over 1.45 million plastic bags being collected and recycled during the month of October. In total, 160 schools collected a staggering 1,466,438 million plastic bags. The bags were baled and shipped to Trex to be recycled into composite decking material and other products.
The students at Ecole George V School were one of this year’s winners and collected over 33,000 bags. On Monday morning, they received a school bench made out of 5,000 plastic bags and wood fibers. Teulon Elementary School was a rural winner who collected an astonishing 81,370 bags, which breaks the record for the most plastic bags ever collected by one school in the Bag Up Manitoba Challenge.
Every school who participated in the program received a garden box made out of recycled plastic bags and wood fibers. Fourteen lucky schools also won a school bench made out of the same material. Half the benches were awarded to the top collecting schools while the remaining benches were awarded via a random draw. This encourages smaller schools to participate and emphasizes the message of waste reduction.
“Since 2008, over seven million bags have been kept from the landfills, thanks to this program—and over one million in each of the last four years!” says Tom Ethans, executive director at Take Pride Winnipeg! Inc. “We thank all the schools involved for their incredible efforts!”
A program of Take Pride Winnipeg! Inc., Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba (MMSM) has partnered on this important initiative for the past six years. In 2010, a reduction target was placed on single-use plastic bags by the provincial government with a goal of a 50% reduction by 2015. “Manitobans have clearly got the message because in a little over five years, we have already seen a 72.5% reduction, reuse and recycling of plastic bags,” said Karen Melnychuk, Executive Director MMSM. “By working with schools, we have an opportunity to make significant breakthroughs in several critical areas including recycling, plastic bag reduction and the environment. It’s the students who take this message home and teach their parents and other family members.”
2015 Winning Schools
- Ecole George V School
- Ralph Brown School
- Bairdmore School
- Ecole Margaret Underhill
- Pacific Junction
- Victor Mager School
- Polson School
- Teulon Elementary School (Teulon, MB)
- Earl Oxford School, (Brandon, MB)
- McCreary School (McCreary, MB)
- Ste. Rose School (Ste. Rose du Lac, MB)
- Winnipegosis Elementary School (Winnipegosis, MB)
- Ross L Gray School (Sprague, MB)
- Maple Leaf School (Morden, MB)