OPINION: Recycling in Cornwall, it’s about time

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By Nick Seebruch
OPINION: Recycling in Cornwall, it’s about time

Last week we reported that the City of Cornwall passed a pilot program to test out public recycling along Pitt St., in Lamoureux Park and at special events. Coincidentally, that same day, the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau announced its intention to eliminate all plastics by 2021.

I was surprised at the overwhelmingly positive response our story got on social media, with many saying that they would be keeping an eye out for the new recycle bins and would be using them.

The program is only in a limited area right now, and is only a pilot program, to be reviewed in October, but I think it will be continued going into the future and hopefully expanded.

City administration I think will be surprised with the program’s success as well I think. Administration told City Council that the City used to have a public recycling program in 1993, but that it was seldom used, which was one of the reasons given as to why the City has had no public recycling program in the intervening 26 years.

The public’s attitude towards recycling has changed over the past two-plus decades. We want to live in a cleaner and more sustainable way. I have to admit that I never noticed that the City did not have a public recycling program until it was brought to my attention and I was surprised that Cornwall didn’t have one.
This is a good step forward, but the City must do more. The city recently reformed their Waste Management by-law, I thought then that a public recycling program would have been at the forefront of the minds of administration, but it wasn’t until Councillor Carilyne Hébert suggested it that the matter was looked into. Administration has emphasized in recent years the importance of keeping as much waste out of Cornwall’s landfill as possible. The landfill is reaching capacity and the cost to create a new one would run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That being said I think that this recycling program can unite environment conscious progressives on Council as well as fiscal conservatives. When the program comes up for review, I think that it should be expanded beyond Pitt St. and Lamoureux Park. I’m not saying that there should be public recycle bins on every corner, but the issue should be studied and a solution implemented strategically.

At the top of my column, I mention the positive response to the new recycling program, I want to also take a moment to address the not so positive responses.
There are some who feel that a full-ban on plastics is going too far, or that recycling your coke can won’t make a difference well it does make a difference, and the time to move away from plastics is now. Like moving away from oil to green energy industries, I think that moving away from plastics and into alternatives is the way of the future, and that for both of those industries, a person with smart business sense could move in and build that renewable sector from the ground up as oil is left in the dust.

Even if climate change isn’t a big issue for you, or you somehow don’t believe in it, what’s the worst that could happen? We accidentally create a better world for nothing.

What do you think about public recycling bins? Would you use them? Email me a Letter to the Editor at nicholas.seebruch@tc.tc

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