WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government announced it will be investing a total of $10 million into several programs to help keep waste out of landfills.

Minister of Conservation and Climate Sarah Guillemard made the announcement at a news conference on Monday, September 14, noting that about $7 million will go towards recycling rebates for municipalities and Northern Affairs communities.

“The residential blue box program is a great example of how industry and local communities are working together with government to keep recyclables out of landfills,” Guillemard said.

The province is also providing $450,000 to the Product Care Association to collect and dispose of stockpiled household hazardous waste, including spray foam containers and propane, and up to $620,000 in Manitoba composts supports payments, which are available to private and public compost facilities.

The minister noted as much as 40 per cent of the waste going to landfills in Manitoba is organic material.

“When this material is sent to a landfill, it produces methane, a harmful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide,” she said.

“Keeping organic materials out of landfills through composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and signals progress on the Climate and Green Plan and carbon savings account.”

Some of the other contributions include $185,000 to Cleanfarms to strengthen the collection and recycling of agricultural plastics in southern Manitoba, and $60,000 to the Manitoba Associations of Regional Recyclers to help recycling organizations adapt to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Manitobans are spending more time at home, and in some cases, that means an increase in waste and recyclables,” Guillemard said.

“We want to make sure that in these difficult times that we don’t lose focus on all of our responsibilities to reduce our waste and continue to divert items from our landfills as much as possible.”

The Manitoba government is also giving $50,000 to Mother Earth Recycling to launch a pilot project that would recycle child car seats and furniture. Guillemard noted these are bulky materials that take up valuable space in landfills.

She said this pilot project will test the recycling process for the products and find markets for the materials, as well as provide training and employment opportunities at Mother Earth Recycling, which is an Indigenous-owned and operated social enterprise.

Monday’s announcement builds on the province’s $150 million investment for green initiatives to protect the environment and implement the ‘Made-in Manitoba Climate and Green Plan.’