October 20, 2011

Reduced Waste Day

My husband and I spent the Labour Day weekend at his parents home in the Bonavista Bay area. While there, we had to drop a bag of garbage off at the local dumping ground. With the crowd around that weekend, garbage was overflowing and garbage collection had already been done for the week. We had been planning to take a drive anyways, so we offered to take the accumulated garbage with us and dispose of it. When we drove up to the dump, my heart sank. It felt like a thousands pounds in my chest.

I look around and saw not just the bags and bags of garbage that households in the area have no choice but to leave there, but so many other things that could have been reused or recycled or more properly disposed of. Everything from fairly decent looking sofas and chairs that would be an ok addition to a cabin. TV stands that any student would have loved to have in their apartment. Old cars that probably would have been welcomed by various parts collectors/recyclers. I wish I had taken a picture to share with you. It was awful to see.

More awful was thinking of how we were minutes from scenic Trinity, where we were headed for on our drive to take in the panoramic views, the historic buildings and visit a friend's new store. The juxtaposition of that mess before my eyes and knowing the beauty that was literally all around it was stark. And sitting there, I knew that this was just one of many such areas across that vast province we call home. It made me sad. And mad.

My first inclination was to be mad at the governments that are responsible for waste management. Upon further reflection and discussion with my husband {he patiently lets me rant about various and sundry topics while driving!}, I decided that's not who was responsible. They are working hard to manage the dumping grounds across the province and to manage the waste. Can more be done? Sure. We should have much better recycling programs. There should be more invested in waste reduction. But, in the face of the many other demands, such as health and education, it is a balance.

Instead, I concluded that the responsibility falls more to us as citizens. We all need to step and do our part and then some. It was someone in that area who dropped off the sofa, the TV stand, the car. Not government. We are all sending garbage bags to the curb every week, that head off to a dump somewhere. We should all be working to reduce the number of bags we're sending and the amount of garbage we're putting in landfills.

This morning, I read this on a friend's facebook page:
Every single day in Newfoundland & Labrador, we burden our beautiful province with one million kg of waste. To put this into perspective, one million kg weighs more than 200 elephants. We owe our province one day off from this one million kg of daily waste. Tomorrow, on October 20, whether you’re a rookie recycler or an all-star green guru, let’s all take action to reduce waste. Ideally, we’d like everyone to go garbage-free for the day. But if that’s not possible, you can still set a goal that works for you. 

Imagine, one million kg of waste every day in just our small province. Insanely unacceptable. Today, while our home won't be able to go garbage free for the whole day (there are few things, like diapers as we don't use cloth), I will make every effort to cut back. There won't be a to-go coffee cup as there often is. There won't be a plastic bag from the grocery store because I forgot and/or am too lazy to go back to the car for my reusables. There won't be a water bottle, but instead my stainless steel canteen will be filled. If there's a wine bottle, it will go to recycling like it always does.

Today, please do your part and reduce your wastage too. Our land, our home deserves it.

This beautiful province of ours deserves respect, not garbage. Please reduce your waste today and every day.

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