"Steinbach is a shining example in North America."
Those are the words of Ken Friesen, Executive Director of Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (CBCRA). Friesen is referring to how few beverage containers you see littered in Steinbach, compared to other places in Canada and the United States.
According to Recycle Everywhere, last year, 72 per cent of all eligible beverage containers and 80 per cent of all PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic beverage containers were recovered in Manitoba. Recycle Everywhere is run by CBCRA.
"When going for a walk in a place like Steinbach and we see a can or a bottle on the side of the sidewalk somewhere, normally you don't have to walk very far at all before you get to the next Recycle Everywhere bin and you can put it into there," says Friesen.
He says that is much different from many other places. And, he says a person is less likely to pick up a beverage container off the sidewalk if there is no recycle bin closeby. He adds Manitoba alone has more than 75,000 Recycle Everywhere bins across the province.
"All of those quick decisions throughout the year to drop beverage containers in recycling bins adds up to a huge amount of waste successfully diverted from our landfills," he adds.
Friesen says he believes Recycle Everywhere is helping contribute to a cleaner Steinbach but also credits the annual Pick up and Walk event.
"I think just the general mindset of people in Steinbach contributes to it being a very clean city with very few beverage containers littered," he adds.
Friesen says the recovery rate for PET plastic beverage containers in Manitoba has been consistently high over the past few years and ranks among Canada's best. He notes the national average is about 75 per cent.
CBCRA recently launched a campaign that reminds Manitobans whether they are at home, work, or play, to recycle their beverage containers.
"The recovery of beverage containers ensures that the material can come back as new containers," explains Friesen. "Our goal is seeing the bottles recycled many times, over and over again."
According to Friesen, the Recycle Everywhere program has been around for 12 years. He notes the overall recovery rate has jumped from 42 per cent to 72 per cent today. CBCRA is committed to reaching the government-mandated target of recovering 75 per cent of beverage containers sold in Manitoba.
Friesen says it makes sense both economically and in terms of our environment for us to reuse as much material as possible.
"The best way to reuse plastic and aluminum beverage containers is by recycling them over and over again," he adds.