We’ll be the first to say it – the recycling industry is complex and is constantly changing. Because of this, the rules often change and there is a lot of misinformation about what gets recycled in the blue bin, or how recycling works in the province. Below, we debunk six myths about residential recycling and how the program works in Manitoba.
Myth #1: Our recycling is sent to the landfill and/or ends up in the ocean.
When recyclables are picked up from your home, they are taken to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) where they are processed, sorted, baled, and shipped to an end market to be made into something new. Communities that receive funding from MMSM must ensure that recyclables are going to an acceptable end market. This does not include burning or sending materials to landfill. The recyclables collected in Manitoba are shipped to end markets in Ontario, the United States, and sometimes China. This is dependent on market conditions and can change daily.
Myth #2: MMSM is a government organization.
MMSM operates under the Packaging and Printed Paper Stewardship Regulation with the Province of Manitoba. However, MMSM is an independent, not-for-profit organization that works on behalf of the producers who bring packaging and printed paper into Manitoba. Our job is to ensure that their materials get recycled. MMSM collects fees from producers, which are then used to reimburse up to 80% of the net costs of a municipalities recycling program.
Myth #3: Manitoba has a low recycling rate.
Manitoba has one of the highest recovery rates for residential recycling in the country. In 2020, 80.3% of packaging and printed paper supplied in Manitoba was recovered and recycled. Since 2010, when the MMSM program launched, residential recycling has increased by 26%. You can read more about the recovery rate in our annual report.
Myth #4: Taxpayers fund residential recycling programs.
MMSM is a not-for-profit organization that works on behalf of the manufacturers, retailers, and other organizations that supply packaging and printed paper to Manitobans. Stewards pay fees into MMSM’s program, and those fees are used to fund up to 80% of the costs for communities’ residential recycling programs. Participating communities are responsible for funding the remaining 20%. Since 2010, MMSM has provided over $160 million in funding to Manitoba communities.
Myth #5: Recycling isn’t accessible to residents in the province.
95% of Manitoba residents have access to a residential recycling program. There are various types of residential recycling programs across the province, ranging from curbside collection, or bringing their materials to a depot. As more communities join MMSM’s program, access to residential recycling will expand across the province.
Myth #6: The recycling triangle on plastics means that an item is recyclable.
The recycling triangle, or the Mobius Loop on a plastic item, indicates what type of plastic an item is made of, not necessarily that it’s recyclable. It’s important to check with your community’s accepted list, as it can vary in different parts of the province. Just because an item has the Mobius Loop on it, doesn’t mean that it’s accepted. In Manitoba, plastics #1-5 and #7 are accepted in your blue bin, with some exceptions. If you’re ever unsure of what plastics are accepted in your blue bin, check the Recyclepedia on our website or by downloading the app.
Are there any myths that we missed? If so, feel free to send us your questions via our contact form or reach out to us on social media, we would be happy to answer them!