Editorial: Just toss in the plastic bag. Why not?

This is the kind of attitude that needs to change when it comes to recycling

Just toss in the plastic bag. Why not?

This is the kind of attitude that needs to change when it comes to recycling in the Lake Cowichan area.

Because the answer to why not, is that it could start costing everyone collectively a significant amount of money.

The Town of Lake Cowichan did not do well in a recent audit of its recycling, coming in at nine to 12 per cent contamination.

If you think that doesn’t sound too bad, here are some numbers to put it into perspective: the City of Duncan is at three per cent, a number of other communities are at six. Further, the town is obligated to keep contamination below three per cent. So there’s definitely some work to be done.

We imagine that not everyone is contaminating their recycling on purpose. In fact, we’d be willing to bet that a good part of the contamination can be taken care of with an education campaign that clarifies for people what they can include and, importantly, what they can’t.

We don’t blame people for being confused. Recycling rules are different in different places, and they have changed over the years, with some things added to the naughty list and some things taken away.

Getting it all straight in your head, especially when it comes to items that you might have only periodically, can be a chore.

But people do need to start taking some responsibility and if they aren’t sure, either don’t put that item in the bin, look up the recycling rules, or even phone the town to get a yay or nay. Even if you think you do know what’s allowed, it’s not a bad idea to brush up on the rules, just to make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest.

Most people know not to dump dirty diapers in the recycling, but we bet there are a lot of people who might toss in that Styrofoam tray, or the plastic bag from the grocery store (try cloth, it’s a great option).

Because it’s getting to where the town is going to face a fine from the recycler, and it could be a hefty one, if there’s too much junk in with the stuff heading to its second life. That fine falls on everyone collectively, and will come out of the taxes you pay to the municipality.

All because you didn’t sort.

Lake Cowichan Gazette