- The overall beverage container diversion rate in the Canadian province of Manitoba jumped from 42% in 2010 to 70% in 2016, an increase which is thought to be the largest in North America, as reported by the Winnipeg Sun.
- The industry-backed Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (CBCRA) is taking much of the credit for this improvement. The CBCRA was founded in 2010 with a goal of speeding up progress toward a government goal of 75% diversion for containers.
- According to CBCRA, the main reason for this success is their "Recycle Everywhere" program. More than 55,000 public recycling bins have been distributed through the program and educational campaigns are ongoing.
The Recycle Everywhere program continues to expand collection options on a regular basis — with a recent focus on government buildings, seasonal cottages and campgrounds — and also educates residents on the larger recycling process. This last point is key, as numerous surveys in multiple countries have shown that a lack of understanding about where recyclable material goes is often at the root of low participation rates.
Previous proposals have called for cutting Manitoba's per capita waste in half by 2020, though recent data from cities such as Winnipeg shows that the waste reduction process may be more challenging than anticipated. This tracks with similar trends in other parts of Canada as well as the U.S. that show higher recycling rates don't necessarily mean lower consumption rates.
Amid skepticism about the accuracy of diversion rates for beverage containers in other parts of Canada the consumption question is beginning to gain more relevance.
Beverage companies have worked to change the composition of their bottles and are key backers for groups such as CBCRA and Keep America Beautiful.
Yet Greenpeace and other environmental groups remain unconvinced that this can solve the larger plastic pollution problem. Few would argue that adding more public recycling bins is a bad thing, but with the amount of plastic beverage containers expected to rise in future years, more bins may not be enough to keep up. Compared to the already difficult task of changing recycling habits, it's widely accepted that changing consumption habits will be even harder. In the meantime, any solution that increases diversion and reduces littering will often receive a warm reception.