The 2014 Bag up Manitoba Plastic Bag Challenge has broken another record with nearly 1.6 million plastic bags being collected and recycled during the month of October. In total, 167 schools and two daycares collected a staggering 1,596,333 plastic bags. The bags were baled and shipped to Trex to be recycled into composite decking material and other products.

The students at Ecole Robert Browning School were this year’s urban winner and collected a total of 53,118 bags. On Wednesday they received a school bench made out of 5,000 plastic bags and wood fibers. The rural winner will be announced the week of December 8.

A program of Take Pride Winnipeg! Inc., Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba (MMSM) has partnered on this important initiative for the past five 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 four years, we have already seen a 46.7% reduction” said Karen Melnychuk, Executive Director MMSM. “By working with schools, MMSM has 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.”

“Since 2008, close to six million bags have been kept from the landfills, thanks to this program—and over one million in each of the last three years!” says Tom Ethans, executive director at Take Pride Winnipeg! Inc. “We thank all the schools involved for their incredible efforts!”

“MMSM and businesses from the food, beverage and consumer good sectors are committed to the reduction and recycling of plastic bags in Manitoba,” said Melnychuk. Although plastic bags are recyclable, they’re not an accepted material in your residential recycling bin. Consumers are asked to return their plastic bags back to retailers with collection bins or reuse them in their homes. For a full list of drop off locations: Return your bags here

Bag Manitoba Winners

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