Walking back from the store just now, I noticed two batteries on the ground within the span of a few steps. I thought it funny to consider that in other countries, four year olds would be fighting over that valuable find. Those things are worth something, and yet in Canada we throw them in the trash like they are worthless. As some of my friends know, I take particular offense to this because I realize how much damage batteries do to our planet when they are not properly disposed of.
The same could be said for much of the trash I see around. I walk through a high school football field daily to the store or to catch the bus, and I could easily make a few bucks a day simply by collecting the bottles and cans for their deposit. Except here in Ontario, we don’t do that anymore. If I lived in Quebec, I and any other tree-huggers could help fight pollution and make some spare change at the same time! The jig is up….cans and bottles are worth money or they wouldn’t collect them at the curb.
This brings me to another beef I have with Ontario; recycling in general. Don’t get me wrong, as many people know, I live and breathe recycling. And based on the number of blue and grey bins on the curb each week, I am not alone. I even noticed how neatly my neighbor bound his cardboard last week! We are a people who want recycling to work. We see the value in it. And even though we live in a relatively clean Country, we still see that the need is greater than what we see in our own back yards. As strange as this sounds, I feel a wave of pride each week when I see all of my neighbors dedicating time to mother nature, and don’t even get me started on the recycling stations I see popping up at even privately owned stores and restaurants! How great!
You can imagine my despair and sheer and utter disgust when I realized that none of my Governmental industries recycle….at all. Our Prisons’ kitchens do not recycle. Our military kitchens do not recycle. So this got me searching and questioning and what I found was even more depressing. The recycling stations at your local coffee shop are great in theory, but like so many other programs these days they are really quite a joke. These bins are not especially user-friendly, and so customers simply throw their waste in whichever bin is closest. The workers at said coffee shop are not permitted to remove recyclables from the trash. Therefore if there is even one tissue in the bin for cans and bottles, the whole thing will be trashed. I wonder if the Government gives them some credit for those bins?
Let’s look at another polluter. Grocery and convenience stores throw out immense numbers of plastic garbage. They would surely set up systems to follow if they were given credit for recycling. As it stands today, it costs money for stores to recycle. They have to pay a company to come and pick recyclables up. What corporation is going to give even a few hundred dollars a year to do something that they don’t have to do? Unfortunately, it all comes down to the bottom line. I get that. I really do. So why not give some credit to your citizens to have enough pride to pick up trash for money. Money that they can spend thereby fueling the oh so important economy.
We have now pulled out of the Kyoto program, saving Canada millions of dollars. Why not spend a tiny drop of that money and initiate a program to inspire your people to clean up the province for you! At minimum wage, a person would have to pick up about 103 ten cent cans or bottles per hour. Wow … that’s what I call productivity and a wage well spent! To illustrate better, at this very moment I could walk across that field and pick up at least fifty recyclable cans and bottles in a matter of about fifteen minutes.
I would like to close by thanking all of my neighbors and fellow Ontarians for doing their part each week and each day to keep the outdoors clean. But I would also like to compel you to demand better! We live in the greatest country on the planet. Let’s demand that it is kept clean!