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NICHOLAS MERCER: Confessions of a terrible recycler

Photo courtesy Western Regional Waste Management
Photo courtesy Western Regional Waste Management - Contributed

I’d like to tell you about the first time I recycled an old soda can or turned that pop bottle into something useful, but I can’t.

It is nigh impossible to pinpoint the first time you discarded a piece of plastic in one of those blue containers.

Truth be told, I’ve never been great at ensuring all of my plastics and cardboards find themselves into those blue bags earmarked for the recycling stations. 

It might be more fitting to say that I am flat out terrible at separating the trash from the salvageable.

I’ve always been inclined to throw everything in a black trash bag and heave it to the curb rather than take the time to ensure the right items get to a blue bag

To put it mildly, I’ve been awful at helping to save the planet.

Milk cartons, plastic containers, bottles and cans are all items that I regularly make sure go to the landfill at Wild Cove instead of where they can be out to good use.

Most times I feel guilty about it and I try to do something about it, but then my lazy streak kicks in and everything finds itself in the same place.

It’s not a great thing to confess, but there it is.

I’m also guilty of littering, which can be seen as a step towards not recycling on the trash evolutionary chart.

For years, it was easy for me to fire an empty fast food bag out the window then find a trash receptacle to put it in.

But, times they are a changing, as Dylan once wrote. It is high time I make an effort to reduce the amount of garbage headed for the landfill.

The Western Regional Management team is about a week-and-a-half away from implementing its two-stream approach to its trash.

Scheduled for July 16, this system clearly identifies what is garbage and what isn’t.

Combing over the list provided on Corner Brook’s website, there are items that can be recycled which surprised me.

Take pizza boxes for example. I figured with the amount of grease that accumulates on the bottom of the box would remove it from the list of things can be sent to Scotia Recycling.

Shampoo bottles are similar in that they aren’t at the top of the list of things you can put in a blue bag and send away.

Having lived in Ontario where curbside recycling has been the norm for a number of years, Janet Oram is happy Corner Brook is making an effort to get people sorting their garbage and recycling more.

However, she doesn’t feel like Western Regional Management is giving its residents the proper tools to make the transition a smooth one.

Maybe if the group provided a mechanism that made it easier for people to sort their garbage. There is also the issue of having bags of garbage and recyclables being kept in the home.

“I believe some people are frustrated over the sorting and having bag laying around their homes,” said Oram.

She proposed the waste management group provide residents with a contraption similar to what one could use to sort laundry. It’s has three bins each dedicated to a different group of items

If the city had something like that, she feels they’d be more prepared for the upcoming switch.

“I’m not going to give up on recycling,” said Oram. “(Western Regional Management) is going to have to spend the money.”

Like Oram, I’m going to make an effort to sort my garbage and get better at recycling.

I live in a small apartment without much space. Having those bags lying around is sure to be a little claustrophobic, but that’s a necessary evil in this case.

I’m still going to try and do my part.

*****   This article was edited to correct inaccurate information *****

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