OPINION: Living sustainably in Cornwall

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By Nick Seebruch
OPINION: Living sustainably in Cornwall
Recycling bin (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

The City of Cornwall has a lot to be proud of when it comes to sustainability. In just a few short years, the City as an organization, and the people themselves have made major strides towards diverting waste away from Cornwall’s landfill.

Last week we learned that once again Cornwall’s Give a Shirt drive diverted over 20,000 pounds of garments from the landfill, instead sending them to our local thrift stores where they will find a new life with those who need them.

Also, I recently spoke with Julie Dennis, owner of The Local Fill. If you haven’t yet heard of The Local Fill, it is a great little store in the same building as Summit Fitness on Pitt St. The Local Fill lets you refill your empty soap, shampoo, spices, and many many other containers rather than going out and buying a new one. Julie told me that she had recently calculated that The Local Fill has helped to divert enough plastic from the landfill to fill four Ed Lumley arenas.

These are not the only successful initiatives in the City aimed at sustainability and conservation. The City of Cornwall in 2020 also launched their fREe Store at the Cornwall landfill. The fREe Store lets residents take used unwanted items that are in otherwise good condition to the landfill that are then made available to others who wish to take them for free.

In late 2020, the City of Cornwall also announced that they were engaging with consultants to come up with a plan to divert 50 per cent of all organic waste from the landfill by 2025.

The need for all of this isn’t just related to wanting to leave a better more sustainable planet for future generations, but for a much more locally relevant reason as well.

The Cornwall landfill is running out of space and to close and maintain that site will cost the City of Cornwall taxpayers $36 million. That amount is a very large number for a municipality of just under 50,000 people to deal with, and that doesn’t even take into account the cost of buying new land to open a new landfill.

There is about 12 years of space left in Cornwall’s landfill, so now is the time to do whatever you can to live sustainably and reuse and recycle.

I recently wrote a column a couple of months ago on this topic, because, for us in Cornwall, it is a big deal.

Even if you don’t believe in global warming, or how plastic is playing a big part in killing off life in the oceans (which you should) then believe this: creating waste is going to cost you, as a taxpayer, a lot of money.

We as a municipality have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go to cushion the blow that’s coming with the inevitable closure of the current landfill.

One way that a person can help to divert waste from the landfill is to abide by the two-bag garbage limit, and do what you can to make sure that as many items wind up in recycling as possible.

Earlier this year, the City of Cornwall also updated their list of recyclable items to include: grocery bags (except black), bread bags, milk bags, freezer bags, produce bags, cereal box liners, dry cleaner bags, cling wrap, newspaper bags (with newspaper removed), and apple or carrot bags.

What are some ways that you try to live sustainably? Email me a Letter to the Editor at nseebruch@seawaynews.media

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