Monday, January 3, 2011

Gatineau Residents Will Get Fined for Not Recycling

Consumers Criminalized - Garbage Producers Empowered...

You could see this coming a mile away. Bigger and bigger conglomerates compete for recycling tonnage and contracts. Negotiations with municipalities get hot 'n' heavy. Conditions and quotas come into play. Recycling trucks race around in early mornings and on weekends to make sure someone doesn't actually pick up some of this stuff and re-use it...

Don't get me wrong. Recycling is a wonderful thing.

But how about running our municipalities with a little sanity and humanity?

The fact is that any amount of the recycling on the curb is there as a result of excessive, unnecessary and impractical packaging being used for the unnecessary goods we consume. So let's not put the cart in front of the horse here. Step one is to reduce packaging, not criminalize consumers.

But rather than call for laws against gratuitous and excessive packaging, like individually wrapping every frickin' cookie one-by-one or two-by-two in the box, consumers need to create a market for products that are well and appropriately packaged.

As for municipalities, here are some suggestions:

1. Think outside the box to promote re-use of materials (like a reusable box depot)
2. Provide more detailed information on how to prepare recyclables
3. Refuse to be dictated to by multinational recycling conglomerates
4. Encourage farmer's markets, shop local and other activities that reduce packaging, storage and transport

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