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City of Iqaluit switches to purified water while looking for plastic waste solution

Residents of Iqaluit asked to store empty water bottles
The City of Iqaluit is trying to identify solutions to the influx of plastic waste created by the water crisis. Trevor Wright/NNSL photo

The City of Iqaluit is searching for a solution to another problem the ongoing water crisis has created: the piles of empty plastic water bottles from the massive volumes of bottled water flown in to meet local water needs.

On Dec. 6, the city announced it will be switching to purified river water from the Sylvia Grinnell River, provided to the city by the Canadian Armed Forces in Operation LENTUS. Therefore, water pick-up depots in the territorial capital will no longer be providing bottled water. Iqalummiut are being asked to bring their own containers to refill.

On the same day, the municipality requested that residents crush and store empty water bottles in recycling bags with the lids put back on. The city is asking Iqalummiut, if possible, to keep these recyclables in their possession until the municipal government can develop a solution to the influx of bottled water.

The city is currently working with partners to develop a recycling management plan. For the integrity of the tentative plan, the city is asking people not to mix other recyclables with the discarded plastic water bottles in recycling bags.