Where does Winnipeg’s recycling end up?

Where does Winnipeg’s recycling end up?
WATCH: While cities across the country are struggling to find buyers for recycled materials, Winnipeg is bucking the trend.

When you toss something into the recycling bin do you think about what’s next?

In Winnipeg our recycling ends up being sorted here before it’s processed and then turned into other new products.

The city has a breakdown of where all the items end up:

City of Winnipeg
City of Winnipeg. City of Winnipeg

Some municipalities across the country are facing challenges for finding places to ship their recycling, but Councillor Cindy Gilroy, the chair of the Water, Waste, River Bank Management and the Environment Committee says Winnipeg isn’t having that issue.

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“As far as Winnipeg is concerned though we are able to sell all our products. So everything you see that’s going into our recycling box is being sold. We are able to find a place and a market for things we are recycling right now,” she said.

READ MORE: Is Canada’s recycling industry broken?

Gilroy says in 2017 the city made about $5 million from selling our recyclables. She says we still have some room for improvement.

“We have to make sure we’re looking at recycling as an option but not the only option we have to make sure we are reducing what we use too.”

“You know you have a container that’s plastic but it may still have some food stuff in it, you want to make sure you remove the waste, rinse it and put it in the recycling bin.”

WATCH: Canadian cities are coming to terms with a bleak new reality for the recycling industry

Canadian cities are coming to terms with a bleak new reality for the recycling industry
Canadian cities are coming to terms with a bleak new reality for the recycling industry

Ken Friesen from the Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association says there are three main culprits to our contaminated recyclables:

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  1. Coffee cups
  2. Half full drink bottles
  3. Kitchen waste

He says people often put things in the recycling bin if they aren’t sure about where it should go.

“If the contamination level is really too high, the local recyclers can’t economically recycle or sort the material or bail the material to the level for market.

“If it’s too contaminated they have been diverted to landfill instead of the recycling centre,” Friesen said.

Friesen says it also doesn’t take very many plastic bottles to create something new. A baseball hat or a windbreaker jacket can be made with as few as five recycled bottles.

He says before we do recycle our products we should be looking to give them a new use and reduce our use first.

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