Winnipeggers try to ‘recycle’ 5,500 used, dirty diapers every week

If you’ve ever thrown a used diaper in the recycling instead of the trash, you’re one of the thousands of Winnipeggers who are forcing waste workers to sort your gross, dirty laundry.

“My team is seeing a lot more of it right now,” said Rex Alcaraz, the recycling facility’s senior plant supervisor.

“On a weekly basis we do sort 5,000 to 5,500 of diapers … it is very surprising and I want Winnipeg residents to be more aware of what’s going on.”

The city has long struggled with making sure Winnipeggers know what is and what isn’t recyclable here. Since every city and province has different sorting facilities with different capabilities, what is recyclable in one municipality may not be recyclable in another.

“We have our acceptable list and we really need people to get accustomed to that,” said Mark Kinsley, the city’s waste diversion supervisor. “Learn what that list is.”

The facility’s contamination rate has been going up, he added.

“When in doubt, find out,” he said. “Get accustomed to the acceptable list … and stick to only putting that stuff into your recycling.”

What isn’t in doubt is that dirty diapers belong nowhere near your recycling bin, said Alcaraz.

“It’s also a health issue when it comes to my sorters,” he said.

“I want people to know, to be aware, that anything that is human feces, [coming] in contact with it is a serious health issue.”

Find out more about what you can or cannot put into Winnipeg’s recycling, or save or print this handy poster from the city.

-With files from Brittany Greenslade

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