Recycling blues

Resident upset with the current curbside collection program in the region

Like Bonnie Shideler, I also feel that I must speak up about recycling, but not just about where I live. I would like to comment on Multi-Material B.C. and Emterra in general.

The program is flawed, as the letter writer so rightly points out. A quick visit to MMBC’s own website gleans this little gem of information:

B.C.’s Environmental Management Act defines packaging as “a material, substance or object that is used to protect, contain or transport a commodity or product, or attached to a commodity or product or its container for the purpose of marketing or communicating information about the commodity or product.”

The truth, as known by avid recyclers, is vastly different. The plastic bag used to “contain” my potatoes is not a blue bin item. the moulded styrofoam used to “protect” my stereophonic equipment is a no-no. Bubble wrap? – forget it. The carton that is used to “transport” my juice? Not in MMBC’s program, thank you very much.

Who cherry-picked the manufacturers that are part of the program? Who decided that they needed to be cherry-picked?  Who (because it certainly isn’t us, the citizens of B.C.) benefits from this minimalist and inadequate approach to recycling?

Before the intervention of MMBC, the list of recyclables was growing and, unhampered by restrictive regulation, local depots were finding more and more ways of accepting and recycling items that were not even on that growing list.

Bonnie Shideler nailed it when she stated, “I bet a lot of recyclables are going straight in the garbage now simply because its being made more and more of a challenge to do the right thing.”

I, for one, have quit trying to do the right thing.

After either watching the Emterra driver sift through my recycling bin and leave certain items on my lawn, the street or boulevard, or coming home to find the scattered mess, I decided to be a non-recycler. That is after being an avid recycler, both at home and on the job site, for more than 30 years.

I’ve been a non-recycler for awhile now and I am astounded at the time it frees up by just stuffing everything in the garbage, the space it frees up without those damn bins (and all the containers for the stuff the bins don’t take) all over the place, the guilt it frees up over wondering if you’re doing the right thing.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m still a recycler, just not here in B.C. When I vacation in Mexico, in a town about the size of Enderby, I can recycle plastic bags, glass and all sorts of stuff that you can’t here.

When I visit my in-laws in Ontario, I can recycle there, because the program makes sense.

I just hope that, in my lifetime, B.C. comes up with a sensible, inclusive plan for recycling that will make people want to contribute their small efforts towards a common good. MMBC ain’t it.

Mark Levey



Vernon Morning Star

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