This morning I was drinking my coffee, absently flipping through the newspaper scanning the headlines, but not really paying all that much attention. It wasn't until I left the house and was getting into my car that one of them intruded on my reverie.
I was standing in the driveway, breathing in the sweet morning air, and gazing at the glory of a late spring/early summer day, and I thought, "damn! It's May 28th. It's sunny, and warm, and fabulous - true picnic at the park weather. And the Stanley Cup final series starts tonight."
If the series goes seven, the final game will be played on June eleventh. I can't think of one thing less relevant to life during the first two weeks of June, than professional hockey. The media are doing their best to generate the hype: opportunity for the cup the come back to Canada - yada, yada, yada... Who cares!
You know what? Doc Halliday might start Thursday night in Chicago. Now that's exciting!
The face of recycling in Ontario is changing rapidly. Sure, I've read the editorials about it, but it really became noticeable as I carried an almost empty blue box to the curb tonight.
Now, we'd already reduced our use of non-reusable bottles a couple of years ago, but our blue box was still usually fairly full. Mostly wine and liquor bottles. That sounds really bad, doesn't it. Still, it's the truth. The wife and I usually have a glass of wine with dinner (for medicinal purposes, of course). I tend not to buy major brewery brand beer, and much of the beer in my fridge is imported, and bottled in non-returnable bottles. So our blue box commonly had several beer and wine bottles in it at every pick up date.
Recently the Government of Ontario started a program whereby every item sold in the government run LCBO liquor stores has a refundable-upon-return deposit included in the price. Bottles (and cans) are to be returned (to the Beer Store, not the liquor store where you purchased them - could it be any more confusing?) for a refund instead of being put in the recycling box. Now the Beer Stores in Ontario have had a refundable bottle deposit program in place for years. Beer bottles are returned to the brewers, and refilled - a system that makes good environmental and economic sense. The bottles from the liquor store, however, are not being handled the same way. They are simply being put into a bigger blue box by the collectors, and recycled the way bottles from our residential curbside boxes were.
So why do it? According to the government, a higher percentage of bottles will ultimately end up being recycled this way. Because the bottles are being returned for a cash refund, they figure fewer people will dispose of them in the trash. As well, due to better sorting and handling procedures, less glass will be rejected by the recyclers due to mixed colours or contamination. We are told that better than 85% of our glass wine, liquor and beer bottles will now be diverted from landfills.
This is a good thing. But at what cost?
This is costing money. Government money. Public money. Let me translate: tax money. Somewhere along the line, more money is going to be taken out of my pocket to pay for this program. As well, many municipalities are already complaining that the companies who are contracted to do the weekly roadside recycling collection are asking to renegotiate their contracts. Contracts which, they say, were originally based upon expected volume of goods available for them to resell to recyclers.
Looking at my blue box tonight, I can see why they are upset. One Coke can. One ratty plastic bottle the dog picked up during a walk. A one litre creme container. A yogurt tub. An ice cream container (which I took out and put in the garbage, where it belongs). Slim pickings. So my municipal taxes are going to have to go up again as well, all so the government can be seen to be doing something for the environment. It remains to be seen whether they can come anywhere close to their goal of 85% diversion of glass bottles, but whether they do or not, the fact remains, this was easy, and will be mostly ineffectual. And it allows the Government to avoid actually addressing major environmental issues on the table.
Did you know...
...That if you start up Google Earth, and zoom in on the default starting position, you will see a small subdivision of row homes in Lawrence, Kansas?
...That in a recent Environics poll that asked Canadians which country "poses the greatest threat to world peace," forty per cent of respondents chose the United States?