February 20th, 2019

We need to change how we recycle

By Medicine Hat News Opinon on February 8, 2019.

We are told the carbon tax will encourage “consumers” to reduce consumption of anything contributing to carbon emissions but in many cases we have absolutely no control.

The excessive plastic packaging for the cannabis you can now buy legally is ridiculous. It is not the suppliers/producers that designed the packaging, it was the federal government that determined what it would be and imposed it on the suppliers, according to a recent radio program.

This is the same federal government that will impose a carbon tax on the provinces that do not introduce one themselves in an effort to coax the public into making changes.

At this stage the only way to reduce the excess packaging of cannabis would be to buy it on the black market and apparently that comes in a small plastic bag. This is the opposite of what the federal government planned.

We have also been brainwashed into thinking that recycling is what we need to do rather than reusing.

Go to the supermarket for a jug of milk and you have no choice but to buy it in a big plastic bottle and pay a recycling deposit. If you want to get your deposit back you need to have a place to store those plastic bottles, generally in a one use black plastic bag, and take those bags to the recycling depot in your vehicle that is contributing to emissions.

Reusable glass bottles would be one option, like our great-grandparents had, but that is not available to consumers.

Taking your recyclable bottles back to the grocery store where you bought them, and where you are already going to buy more, is also not an option.

It would be unfair to suggest the grocery store should recycle the bottles but if the manufacturer had to collect the empty bottles at the grocery store there is the potential to see something change.

If company ABC supplies beverages in plastic bottles that it never sees again after delivery to the retailer there is little incentive to change. If ABC was faced with collecting those empty bottles with each delivery to the retailer there would be an incentive to deal with the situation.

This week there has been the suggestion in media reports that the ABC companies would simply dispose of the empty bottles and charge the customer more. There is the potential for this but only in a market where the consumer has no options.

If consumers did not like ABC’s taking of the bottles to the landfill they would instead buy from another company that changed it’s containers to reusable ones rather than recyclable ones.

That would either see the end of ABC company or they would be forced to change to stay in business. That would certainly empower the consumer to reduce and reuse and support companies that have that vision too.

While we have been shipping our empty plastic bottles to other parts of the world there is no longer the demand that there used to be. What they are paying for our plastic has also declined.

This means we have to change. We can’t just send our recycling to other countries anymore and pat ourselves on the back for a recycling job well done.

Having said all that it is the provincial and federal governments that will need to lead the way. They will have to impose restrictions on suppliers who currently have no incentive to change from one-use plastic bottles.

(Gillian Slade is a News reporter. To comment on this and other editorials, go to https://www.medicinehatnews.com/opinions, email her at gslade@medicinehatnews.com or call her at 403-528-8635.)

Share this story:

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.