Canadian Packaging

NY garbage barge and PPEC history

A lasting legacy of New York’s famous garbage barge, PPEC turns 25.


January 28, 2015
by John Mullinder, PPEC

It was the garbage barge that did it. Over several months in 1987, the waste-packed Mobro 4000 chugged between U.S. ports, hoping to offload its increasingly smelly cargo. Port after port refused to accept it. Turned away by Mexico and Belize, the “most watched load of garbage in the memory of man” took on a life of its own, a television saga, its daily progress (or lack of progress) constantly tracked like the recent search for an airliner missing over the Indian Ocean.

The Mobro 4000 morphed into a telegenic symbol of a wasteful society, and together with an OECD report that portrayed Canadians as among the worst wasters in the world, encouraged politicians to do something about waste, especially packaging waste. In true Canadian fashion, a multi-stakeholder committee was set up, plans drafted, and in 1990 a National Protocol proclaimed.

Click HERE to read the entire fascinating article by Paper and Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council’s (PPEC) John Mullinder.


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