Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Singing the Recycling Blues: Oscar the Grouch Love Trash, But Does Anybody Else?

Oscar the Grouch may love trash (see the You Tube video for proof) but he’s about the only being around who does. Monday the agency which reviews environmental impacts in Quebec (Bureaux des audiences publiques sur l’environnement or BAPE) gave the okay to an extension for a big dump on the north shore of the St. Laurence at Lachenaie for Montreal’s waste, but warned that something is going to have to be done to cut back on waste production.

Montreal can continue to use the site until 2012, but BAPE spokesmen warned that strong measures to cut the amount of waste generated in the Montreal area must be found.

When I was working on Green City, I was amazed to learn that in Babylon during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, street levels had to be changed twice because trash had collected to such great depth that doors no longer opened onto the street. How can that be, I wondered. Then I realized how much trash we were putting out each week, even though we compost vegetable and fruits waste and try to recycle. What if that weren’t hauled away? What if it just lay around the neighborhood?

In Montreal only about 37 per cent of trash is currently recycled, but in some places it's even less. The New York Times reported Tuesday the rate in New York is only 34 percent while Houston is resisting recycling almost completely with a rate of 2.6 pe cent.

But recycling is only part of the solution. It’s important to change the way products are packaged, and to cut back on the thousands of plastic bags we use every year. To be continued for sure, but, excuse me, it's recycling day and I forgot to put the box out...

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