OPINION: Trashing recycling

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Talk about one massive step backwards in terms of doing what’s best for the environment.

In January, municipalities across the province are dropping their blue boxes. They’re getting out of the recycling business.

And when that happens, there appear to be a lot of unknowns looming. Those unknowns will very likely lead to more trash and less recycling.

Don’t blame the municipalities, including Chatham-Kent. The blame lands squarely on the province. It’s an uploading of services, which, granted, is very rare these days as the provincial government for decades has enjoyed downloading responsibilities on municipalities, while not providing sufficient funds to handle the tasks.

But we digress. As of Jan. 1, the province takes over all residential recycling, leaving it to producer responsibility organizations (PRO) to handle curbside collection.

So…what about businesses and industries? They will be ineligible for pickup and will be tasked with finding their own means of getting their recycling handled. 

In the best-case scenario, all large-scale producers of recyclables will contract out that task.

But in reality, we can only wonder what percentage will opt to chuck their cardboard, plastics, paper, and other recyclable materials right into their trash for pickup.

Landfills will get a lot busier thanks to this.

What’s more, the various waste transfer stations across the municipality may stop accepting recyclables, according to municipal officials. That will be up to the new company.

That means rural residents without curbside recycling pickup could no longer have a drop-off point for their recycling.

However, they will for their trash.

It’s not hard to see what will happen – more recycling into the landfill.

One can understand the province’s desire to encourage big producers of recyclable products to pay to have their items collected. Property taxes used to pay for the cost of recycling. With the province taking over, that ceases to be the case.

Unless the province plans to have scores of recycling wardens in place across the province in a couple of months, this is destined for failure.

And if they do have some form of recycling police, one can wonder the expense versus keeping things as they were.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Trashing recycling is absurd.
    This trash is just going to go into the landfill sites. Items that don’t break down but can be recycled. Think about what your doing to the environment

  2. Maybe the answer lies not in forcing the consumer to deal with all the materials included in the packaging of products, but forcing manufacturers to find different ways of packaging. Printer ink is the greatest waste of packaging I can think of.

  3. This really is not a big deal. Recycling is/has been a feel good action from the start. So much of the recycling ends up in the landfills because of “contamination” anyway. The technology is there to incinerate it all and not have the landfills and recycling take up so many resources. But the cost would be astounding….

  4. The majority of recycling gets incinerated because it can’t be used. Anyone who thinks we recycle plastic need to do their research.

  5. Another factor to consider.
    Now that companies must pay for recycling, they may just scrap recyclable products altogether. It’s about the almighty dollar right. I worry that recycling may “go out the door” with this new policy

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