Too much whining about garbage limits
The Hamilton Spectator
(Apr 28, 2009)
All right already, enough with the 'one bag limit' on garbage! I'm getting a headache!
I remember when I wrote my first column for The Spectator. It was inspired by the lack of progress at City Hall in regard to the Pan Am Games bid and their general inability to 'finish the job.' I've learned a bit since then, including not painting all of city council with the same brush. (Thanks Mayor Fred!)
But I must admit, Hamilton, I don't think it's City Hall that's dragging their feet this time.
I think it's YOU! Yes you, the citizenry...
We now have one of the most progressive recycling plans in the country. A little too much, too fast? Perhaps. But I don't think I've heard so much fear mongering and general whining since we were threatened with negative optioning on our cable bills!
Please let's use some common sense here. Remember Earth Day last week? I can't believe we're still talking about this. What's needed here is education. Instead we have anarchy and clear bags!
First of all, City Hall isn't asking you to do any more than every other municipality is asking its citizens to do in some form. We have to change our ways. We're not debating that here. What I'm trying to do is tell you just how easy it is.
The first problem is, everyone thinks garbage first, then recyclables. Wrong. Think the other way around.
First, what am I recycling? What's left goes into the garbage. The key point missed in all of this is people don't realize that now almost everything is recyclable. Therefore the extra bag is simply not needed if we just organize.
For example not recyclable: cling wrap, blister wrap, bubble wrap, plastic cups; glass that is not a food or beverage container, drinking glasses, light bulbs, ceramics; metal that is not a food or beverage container; paper towels, paper cups and diapers. All that goes in the garbage. Almost everything else is recyclable. Each municipality has a detailed list on its website and each may differ. See www.hamilton.ca)
The only issue I feel City Hall should change is the clear plastic bag if a second bag per week is needed. This not only says 'we don't trust you.' It's also a hassle to now buy two different bags for the same job. People simply don't have time for that with everything else in their lives.
A poll question of the day at 900CHML.com revealed more than 70 per cent of those who took part were against the garbage limit. There are still no shortage of in the Spec written by those who would rather take the time to cheat the recycle system than learn how to effectively make it work for them.
Some of these letters express fear there is an increase in public dumping around the city and the final cost will be greater than that of recycling.
Others cried when mattresses, stoves and washers were appearing in back alleys and country roads. Excuse me? How many times a year are you throwing that stuff out? And hasn't it been a while since you could just leave it at the curb for everyday removal?
Who are you, Sanford and Son? Plus the city has special days to pick up bulk garbage such as yard waste, furniture or the old carpet.
Getting us nowhere are city councillors who hold more debate on the issue, saying they are only listening to what their constituents say. I appreciate their voice but once heard and debated I feel it's up to the politicians to educate people on what's best for the city and not just about airing a voice so it appears you are working for the people therefore ensuring re-election. Once the majority of councillors have made a decision it's time to move on in the direction the city has chosen and not keep beating a dead horse. I'll save that for another column.
My suggestion is get yourself another blue box or two and when the garbage needs to be taken out, you throw it into a blue box, a green cart, or the garbage can. After sorting you will realize just how much is recyclable and how empty the garbage can is. Hey, I've got a family of four and one in diapers. At first, I was cursing too!
The Scott Thompson Show on News/Talk 900 CHML airs weekdays 4-7 p.m. Visit his website at ScottThompsonTalk.com