Even I don't always agree with my opinion


To The Dump – To The Dump – To The Dump, Dump, Dump!

Posted June 18, 2008 by jim young in Lifestyle

– by jim young

I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years. I’ve pumped gas, washed floors, and been a disc jockey, photographer and executive manager. A friend once asked me if there’s anything I haven’t done. The answer of course, regrettably, is, yes there are lots I haven’t done and a single lifetime is not nearly long enough to do it all.

I’ve learned much from each position I’ve held, but probably the most eye-opening occupation was my brief stint as waste-site caretaker in Sebastopol Township in the Ottawa Valley.

The dedicated and conscientious council members of Sebastopol Township, knew better than most, the importance of proper waste management. And I learned from them as much as I learned from my personal experience at the waste-site, how difficult waste management really is.

Just how much garbage does the average household dispose of? Not much, I used to believe. Until I saw it delivered to a single waste-site that was only open twice a week in a township whose tax base probably consisted of as many temporary residents as it did full time residents.

That the waste-site was dangerously close to the beautiful Lake Clear only emphasized the delicate balance of our ecology.

Of course I was familiar with recycling procedures from having lived in the city of Barrie most of my life, even if I didn’t understand it.

I had often wondered why I could recycle Javex bottles, but not Ketchup bottles. It took the Township of Sebastopol with a very limited budget to educate me that it wasn’t necessarily the contents of the container that dictated its recyclability as much as the container itself.

Where Javex bottles might be made from a plastic graded as a #1 or #2 on the recyclable label imprinted in the plastic on the bottom, Ketchup bottles are graded as a #5. Why isn’t this information more readily available to the public? Wouldn’t it be easier to remember that #1 and #2 are recyclable but #5 are not?

Of course all grades are recyclable if you can find a buyer for the plastic, it’s just that there are more buyers for #1 and #2 grade plastic than there are for #5.

And if you check closely, a margarine container may be manufactured from a #5 plastic, while its lid is made with a #1 or #2, making the lid recyclable, but not the container itself.

While plastic water and liquor bottles are usually made from the recyclable #1 or #2 grade plastic, there are exceptions to the rule. Water bottles that are sealed with an obvious seam on the side are not recyclable because of the glue used on the seam.

I was impressed when two concerned residents, who asked me to explain these differences, decided that they would no longer purchase water that was sold in such containers. I can’t help but wonder what Heinz would do if they discovered consumers would no longer purchase ketchup sold in containers made from #5 plastic; and more important, why don’t more of us boycott them until they do?

But what impressed me the most was the actual volume of non-recyclable garbage that was delivered to the waste-site in Sebastopol Township in such a short period of time. It occurred to me then that we should all be required to deliver our own garbage to the waste-sites, instead of relying on having our garbage picked up and magically disappear from our driveways. Then, we might all have a better appreciation for the challenge that should be considered to be paramount to each of us.

Unfortunately, it seems we just can’t legislate moral responsibility. Hell, just last fall, after waiting in line at the Barrie dump for an hour during “free dump month,” even I decided that next time, I would rather just pay someone to take it away.

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