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Winnipeggers throwing away more trash amid coronavirus, according to the city

Earth Day: Spike in garbage collection in Winnipeg
Winnipeggers appear to be making more garbage while stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Winnipeggers appear to be making more garbage while stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to numbers from the city, Winnipeg’s landfills saw an increase of more than 1,400 metric tons of trash trucked to the dump in March, compared to the same time last year.

The Green Action Centre of Manitoba says Winnipeg is far behind in becoming eco-friendly compared to other cities in Canada — and it’s costing taxpayers.

READ MORE: Disposable wipes and paper towel don’t go down the toilet: City of Winnipeg

“We’re seeing our landfills fill up at faster rates, and that’s quite expensive to the city,” said the centre’s Jane Roussak.

“We’ve seen a lot of interest in curbside organics pickup and the city has approved a pilot, but to see this implemented citywide so that people have a better option for their organic waste.

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“I think Winnipeg needs to catch up to a few of the other cities.”

Vancouver, for instance, instituted an organic waste ban in 2015 in an effort to stop organic food scraps from heading to the city’s waste facilities.

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The city has since said it leads Canada in reducing the amount of organics going to the landfill.

READ MORE: Montreal unveils new organic waste treatment centre in bid to fight climate change

 

In Winnipeg, city council approved a motion last year to have city staff look into the potential of launching an organic waste pilot program, possibly sometime this year.

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It would see things like animal bones, kitchen scraps and coffee grounds diverted from the landfill, but staff said at the time the earliest possible date for a permanent plan to start would be 2026.

City of Winnipeg says disposable wipes and paper towel don’t go down the toilet
City of Winnipeg says disposable wipes and paper towel don’t go down the toilet

Roussak tells Global News food waste makes up roughly half of all household garbage here in Winnipeg, and she worries that number may only increase with people buying in bulk during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Bus driver layoffs announced during City of Winnipeg coronavirus update

“This is a great time to start composting, whether that’s in the backyard or if you try out vermicomposting in a bin,” she said. “You can get rid of your organic scraps that way.”

And for the trash that doesn’t make its way into the bin, the city kicked off its spring cleaning effort this week and expects to have city streets all tidied up within the next five to six weeks.

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— With files from Abigail Turner

Hundreds of City of Winnipeg employees temporarily laid off due to coronavirus
Hundreds of City of Winnipeg employees temporarily laid off due to coronavirus

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.