Each fall the Manitoba Association of Regional Recyclers (MARR) hosts a forum and tours in Winnipeg. I attended last week.
The Wednesday afternoon bus tour took us to the Forks ‘Zero Waste’ operations and Exner E-Waste.
The Forks has a zero waste policy for food services. There is a dishwasher so all plates and eating utensils are reusable. Staff removes the dishes and leftovers from food trays, separating recyclables, food scraps and garbage.
We toured the compost site outdoors. The food scraps are placed in a large ‘Biovator’ and moved through a long chamber over a period of time. Compost comes out the other end and is screened and used their green spaces.
Unfortunately we didn’t see it in action as the wiring had been stolen two weeks ago.
It was great to see that zero was can be done.
The second stop was the plant where our electronics are recycled in Elie. The process is very interesting as glass, leaded glass, plastics and metals are separated and recycled. The only garbage is particle board and foams found in some speakers and stereo systems.
Metal is recovered in many forms from large balls to dust. All floor sweepings are put back in the system as they contain valuable metal. It is sold on the market.
Glass is used as aggregate locally. Leaded glass is sent to a lead smelter. Only plastic is shipped overseas as it is a mix of many chemicals including fire retardant.
All of the end users including the plant in Malaysia have been audited by the recycling program to ensure health and safety standards are met and the materials are recycled.
It is a very innovative process.