Winnipeg Harvest and Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba (MMSM) launched a new initiative April 23 to recycle and reuse plastic bags across the province.
The Bag it Forward — Plastic Bag Recycling program will deploy 350 plastic bag bins to Winnipeg Harvest and other food banks. Harvest will reuse some bags to pack its food kits and recycle the damaged and ripped bags that can't be used that way.
Initiatives like this will help cut Manitoba's solid waste in half by 2020, according to Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh. The province has already taken steps to reduce its use of plastic bags. In 2014 alone, 1.6 million bags were kept out of Manitoba landfills, according to MMSM's website.
Karen Melnychuk, executive director of MMSM, said that the partnership with Winnipeg Harvest was a no-brainer.
"It was like a marriage — a perfect fit!" said Melnychuk with a laugh. "(MMSM) promotes and educates consumers on the proper disposal of plastic bags. They are recyclable, but it's better yet to reuse them first before you recycle them."
Melnychuk added that plastic bags can get tangled at recycling facilities, which can cause damage to the machinery.
"This new partnership provides Manitoba residents with another convenient method to properly dispose of plastic bags," said Melnychuk.
The recycling bins will be distributed across the province within the next few weeks.