Tuesday, June 23, 2009
My Trash Can Runneth Over
Wow, one day into a Toronto garbage strike and public trash containers are overflowing and parks have become impromptu dumps. The interviews with testy residents would give you the impression that the strike has been on for weeks in the sweltering heat rather than a day.
We are all dependent on someone else coming along and hauling away our "unwanteds." As North Americans we have an amazing ability to produce refuse and consider it almost a God-given right to have it whisked away to parts unknown. In recent years we have become better at sorting through our waste for the purpose of recycling but our diversion is still sketchy and it is disturbing to hear that a lot of supposed recyclables get shipped to countries such as India where environmental laws are more lax. What happens to the stuff? It gets burned.
Speaking of burning, we move relentlessly closer to the existence of an incinerator for our garbage here in Durham Region. It will cost the taxpayers a quarter of a billion dollars to build and will still produce toxic ash which will have to be disposed of somewhere. A number of this blog's readers have attended public meetings to express concern, but the project moves forward.
What should we do as concerned citizens and Christians about waste disposal? While it may sound simplistic to say that we should produce much less garbage, that must be a goal. In Europe there have been concerted efforts to reduce the amount of packaging and producers and retailers are charged with the responsibility of disposal. I often buy milk at one of the drugstores and refuse the bag they offer, pointing out that the bags of milk are in a bag -- why would I need another?
Of course we might actually listen to Jesus and choose to live more simply in every aspect of our lives.
What are you doing to reduce waste? Composting? Carrying reusable shopping bags? Buying less stuff?