Last week I wrote about the tours that were part of the annual Manitoba Association of Regional Recyclers (MARR) event in Winnipeg October 29.
The Forum the following day was full of information. Two panel discussions on focused plastics and contamination in recycling with the whole group.
There were several half hour breakout sessions to choose from. They included success stories from Brokenhead Objibway First nation, Morden Winkler regional landfill (SWAMP), and the RM of St. Andrews.
ReGen Plastics Recycling in Winnipeg updated participants on their business successes and challenges.
Three sessions featured information from the organizations responsible to make recycling happen. The first focused on all things related to vehicles – oil/antifreeze, tires and batteries. The second focused on electronics – cell phones, household batteries and electronics. The third featured Productcare which is responsible for hazardous waste.
One session talked about the challenges and successes of removing recyclable materials out of remote communities. Another described a composting service run by the Green Action Centre. Winnipeg’s planning for Metropolitan regional waste management was also discussed.
What I remember most is that the current downturn in recycling will continue for another two to five years before new mills will be able to manage all the recyclables.
The other revelation came at a Tuesday supper meeting with people working with the federal government to develop waste management in remote First Nations communities.
One person commented that diapers were a major problem for waste management in his community. I asked if there was access to laundry facilities. One person responded somewhat exasperated that the community didn’t even have running water.
Many communities are facing big challenges to do more with so much less than we have.