Friday, March 2, 2018

Simple Suggestion #272... Keep on recycling

Two weeks ago, at conference for members of a charitable organization I volunteer with, I was stunned to hear a facilitator announce, "The City of Edmonton is no longer recycling." As if the end of recycling was a done deal.


As a Master Composter Recycler, I quickly jumped in to try to set the record straight. Yes, the City of Edmonton's Waste Management Branch is facing some challenges, but recycling continues! (I don't think the facilitator read the entire newspaper article on which she was basing her statement.)

The Waste Management Branch, the City's utility committee, and City Council are working to come up with improvements in the way our waste is handled. One idea is to get residents to do more sorting of their own waste -- by providing them with different bins for separating organics from plastics, metals, glass, and paper, so that different items aren't contaminated by being squished together in the trucks that haul them to the recycling facility. Another idea is to refuse to pick up yard waste like grass clippings (because it's actually much smarter to leave them on the lawn rather than spend fossil fuels trucking them around). And I'm sure there are many other options being discussed.

The City of Edmonton's Waste Management has been in the news lately because it hasn't lived up to its very ambitious plan to divert 90% of residential waste from our landfill, but we can't let that stop us from recycling all that we can. And along with recycling, we can also do our best to reduce waste at the source by buying items with less packaging, by taking simple steps to reduce single-use items in our lives (for example, by using travel mugs, cloth shopping bags, mesh produce bags, and I hope you can name a dozen other possibilities), and by learning to compost our kitchen scraps and yard waste.

Even if you don't live in the Edmonton area, we have to keep on reducing our impact on this planet, and the best way is simply to use fewer resources in the first place, opt out of consumerism wherever possible, share our resources, and recycle what's left over from our daily lives however possible.

It's a huge challenge, and it's a bandwagon that we all need to jump on and stay on. Don't let anyone tell you to give up on recycling. Do your own research on methods if need be, and keep on recycling!

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