Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Waste and Perception

Sensible ideas can sure take a long time to come to fruition. St. John's recycling appears to be in the right direction, starting with downtown and another neighbourhood, then spreading out later this year. Mount Pearl started it in 2005. Households could put their recyclables out in separate bags on garbage collection days. Lots of fuel for the recycling industry to grow. It's better late than never, but better earlier than later. Ideally, placing recycling bins in neighbourhoods, blocks, towns, communities, where people can even walk to drop of recyclables, is a big part of the wastage solution. Many currently drop of plastic bottles, aluminum cans, paper, cardboard to several drop of points in St. John's and Mount Pearl. However, it doesn't appear that most people do just yet. One problem is storage, these products take up lots of space. Another is the mindset of garbage disposal convenience, it's easier to simply trash it. This is list of some of Calgary's recycling depots.

Saving bottles, cans, and paper is a great way especially for kids to get some pocket money. If there is little room to save a lot, then those community or local bins should leave no excuse to waste this resource in the usual trash.

Society is saturated with conservation and environmental tips and it's not so unfashionable to save up the "garbage". Unfortunately, there is still much that is wasted by society in general, food, clothes, tin cans, other packaging, automobile parts, etc. Conserving, and hanging on to stuff was/is not fashionable because it still goes against the religiously consumer and tacit doctrine and expectation to purchase "new", and "improved" things, continuously. Part of the psyche may be that throwing used things out is equated with being well-off, i.e., not being so desperate to have to stretch the use of something, or hang on to items to earn a few ever so valuable dollars to get by. Some people do not necessarily think about wasting food, or whatever, as being wasteful, since they perceive not throwing things out as being cheap. Such a perception is helped when advertising is always promoting acquiring new things, and "not settling for less", to "Live richly" (CitiBank), "Making more possible" (ABN AMRO), or, "Just do it" (Nike - in other words, don't think for a second that the pair you bought four months ago is good enough, just buy these).

What will be a "good" problem is bins overflowing with bottles, or cans waiting to be picked up, rather than something like this.

As for food if it's not "recycled" at home, then some of it can be composted. It's not for everyone, and is a bit of extra effort, but maybe there needs to be more promotional nudging of the benefits of doing this. Seeing garbage bins overflowing each week and knowing that 80 - 90% or more can be recycled, reminds us that much more needs to be done. Opportunites to grow the recycling industry, clean up neighbourhoods, use home-made composting material, and simply cutting back on landfill, can be enhanced, if not, then what a waste.

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