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EDITORIAL: A cupful of kicks in the butt

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor

Corner Brook cleaned up over the weekend.

Well, not cleaned up in the financial sense, of course. The city actually paid out more than $2,000 for the cleaning up of cups, a project that began in early May.
The idea was pretty simple. You hand in a cup, you get five cents. The purpose? To make the streets a little more beautiful and a lot less litter-ful.
According to Coun. Tony Buckle, who proposed the idea, the response from the public was more than the city ever anticipated. And, while anecdotal, he said the lion's share of the cups came off the street.
There are people on their digital soapboxes to criticize the program, which is expected. People feel the spirit of the initiative was lost as they help their cups from the waste bin in favour of saving them for cash. There were complaints those who sold the cups should be paying for their pickup. And, of course, people were quick to jump on the fact not all cups seemed to have been picked up within city limits.
Was this cup cleanup perfect? No, of course not. But this doesn't mean we should label it anything but great for what it did. Simply put, Corner Brook's coffee cleanup put littering in the vernacular and made waste a household topic for the demographic over the age of 11 (a best guess on when most people stop caring).
Littering just doesn't have the same impact as it did when we were children. And it's unfortunate that most just don't care. As much good work as the environmentalists preach, and as much as we think people are equipped with entry-level common sense, people will continue to soil the street, or parking lot, or soccer field with garbage.
While we will likely never combat ignorance — cue court report file for DUI charges — talking about it in some small way will undoubtedly help. And this cup collection did just that.
Sure, everyone, including the restaurants, can do a little more to help the cause. But the largest demographic of abusers will be difficult to reach.
For the rest of us, let's start with putting our coffee in travel cups and stop buying the paper ones from the start.
 

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