I’ve been concerned about how much commingled materials we recycle every month for a couple of years. The total weight compared to the previous year was falling each month. This tonnage is a major factor in the calculation of the subsidy we receive from industry each year.
Commingled materials are the recyclables that are baled together to be sorted in Winnipeg. We stopped most sorting in 2013 as we struggled financially, did not have the space, couldn’t keep up and needed more staff who were receiving minimum wage. This decision reduced or eliminate all of those problems.
Aluminum beverage containers, corrugated cardboard, office paper and glass are still separated. Glass is reused locally and the other materials are sold. Newspaper has not been separated out since June 2017.
The decrease in tonnage compared to previous years began in July 2018. Until then monthly totals were 11 to 15 metric tons or tonnes.
In 2019 eleven tonnes was the usual weight each month. Some months were in the single digits. By December, it was 12 tonnes behind 2018.
Only one month reached 11 tonnes in 2020. Four months were less than 10 tonnes. By December, it was nine tonnes behind 2019 and 30 tonnes behind the total for 2017.
Things began to change in November of 2020. The weights compared to the previous year are increasing. It is now four tonnes ahead of last year. Monthly weights are still less than 12 tonnes.
Why is this happening? The biggest factor in the lower numbers is significantly fewer newspapers and magazines in the mix. They weigh the most.
The increases in the last year indicate that more people are recycling which is good news.