Monday, May 28, 2007

Some things I thought about today

   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.
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?


simianfarmer said...

That's just because those 40% of Canadians are trying to divert the attention away from their own border since they pose the real threat.  I mean, we.  WE pose the real threat.

Today: the Stanley Cup final; tomorrow: the World!


bpslider45 said...

I spoke to the guys in the Beer Store (yes folks, that's it's true store name, inventive eh?) about the bottle returns with this new program and the guy said their returns had at least quadrupled with it.

When I made some comment about, "Well, that's a good thing right?," his response was, "We're keeping up now," (it was March), "but when we hit summer, there is no way we will have the time to handle all these returns. Expect to stand in long lines to get yer dime per bottle back!"

Guess where those bottles will go then?

No one tops our governments for coming up with plans to look like they are doing something to solve a problem.
Real problem is its all looks and no solution.
Oh ya and it costs a lot. Can't forget that part.


barryleiba said...

ONLY 40%?
I guess you folks aren't as stupid as we are, present company excepted... but given that, I'd have expected, oh, maybe 85% (with around 13% of the rest comprising ex-pats from the south).

princesssaurora said...

Paul... you are all over the map with this entry... (ba dum bum, ching - ok b ad pun)  

Yes, usually the state/province comes up with stupid ideas to supposedly save money and usually it trickles down to the municipal level and our property taxes go up.  Same here as there.  Duh.  You'd think no one owns a calculator or a brain.

Not surprising about the 40%, I mean, look at our president and the mess in Iraq.

be well,

frankandmary said...

Google Earth. Yeah. Love it. Had an ex boyfriend tell me (I was out with current bf in his car)as I spoke to him on my cell: You said you weren't home.  I can see your car in your driveway....... ~Mary

dpoem said...

Not too far from here, we've got a booze store called "Pekar Liquors."  

They insist it's pronounced "pee-car," but they're not fooling anyone.  


dpoem said...

Oh.  We there's also a butcher shop on Beecher Ave. in Milwaukee, and yes.  It is called "Beecher Meats."

You'd love Milwaukee, Paul.  It's a weird town.  


lurkynat said...

dear Paul
okok you stacked your deck again!
hey you play shuffleboad?are you any good? and when in the fall does that other weird Canadian game start? (wide grin)..I just think that it's cooler than sliced bread that youare so good at that like I read in your journal last week!
Oh you guys are the biggest supplier of oil to the US. It goes:
1. Canada
2. Mexico and
3. Honduras. Doesn't that surprise everyone? did me!
and oh
Canadians have about a gun every third person!
Compared to you we are "gunless"!
Hey your country is fascinating and beautiful ..not as populated as ours! cheers!

plittle said...

What the hell are you talking about?