Why we should bother to recycle

If Surrey can do it, surely Ashcroft and Cache Creek can do it better.

Way to go, Surrey!

“Up here”, we like to feel smug about NOT living in the Lower Mainland – or is that just me? Yes, I have my smug moments, but this isn’t one of them.

This week Surrey announced that it has significantly reduced the amount of waste they send to our landfill because of a new organics diversion program they launched in September.

Also known as composting.

Where organics and food scraps were the only garbage to be picked up, the city increased its diversion from 50 per cent to 66 per cent. That amounted to 57 pounds in October.

They’ve set a 70 per cent waste diversion for all garbage sent to the Cache Creek Landfill from Surrey by 2015, and they’re hoping it will be more like 75 per cent.

So, why doesn’t Cache Creek or Ashcroft get that excited about cutting down on the waste? My guess would be because we have a great big landfill to put everything.

I remember the rush to recycle in Hudson’s Hope in the early 1990s before we even had recycling programs. At that time, the municipality decided to collect items and find its own ways of dispersing them without using the landfill. In 1995 when the Peace River Regional District presented its recycling plan, it seemed like everyone was just waiting for a collection point.

I also remember tossing shipping boxes  in a dumpster behind a place that I worked in Fort St. John, and my boss showing me how to fold them up to cut down on the amount of space they would take up in the garbage bin because we paid each time that bin had to be emptied.

Every week I look around at what people drag to the curb on garbage day, and every week I shake my head. Lots of recyclable material gets thrown into the landfill, and lots of organics as well. Maybe I’m lucky that I have a yard, but I consider vegetables and yard trimmings wasted only if they are put into the garbage and not composted. It’s such a shame to see compostible material put into bags and taken away.

Surely we can do at least as well as Surrey if we try.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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