Monday, June 24, 2024

Trash Talk

Letter to the Editor


Yesterday was garbage/recycle day for me. I put out our recycles in the blue box.

I am trying to follow instructions to the best of my ability.

Cardboard folded, cans washed, and plastic film in a clear plastic bag.

I must have run afoul of the rules governing this type of recyclable because the bag was not taken.

I looked up instructions on the internet. They are specific to the point of being impossible to comply with.

I quote the SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: (as provided on the Meaford website)

Please cut off zippers. Plastic film MUST be bundled and put into a clear plastic bag, tied and placed into your Blue Box. Loose plastic film will NOT be collected. Please also ensure that plastic film is clean of food products and that any stickers, labels, seals or drawstrings have been removed or cut off.

I plead guilty to using an ALMOST clear plastic shopping bag and failed to bundle the plastic film before placing it in the bag, as well I failed to securely tie the bag (no instructions as what kind of tie is acceptable).

I stopped by the Town office with my bag of plastic film and spoke to a nice gentleman, who informed me with a disarming smile, that it really didn’t matter, since there was no market for this type of plastic and it would go into garbage anyway. AFTER I pay the bag fee.

This raises a whole bunch of questions in my little mind as to the state of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Management in this great Province of Ontario.

Where is the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change on this issue?

Is PROFITABILITY for the private waste collector the only determinant of what gets recycled and what goes into landfill?

Is there any discussion by this Ministry with manufacturers of products that, after their useful life is over, they can be recycled in a reasonable and environmentally responsible manner?

Back in the early nineties, when the Meaford garbage dump was full, and Town Council was looking for another garbage dump location, it decided on a location that was unsuitable because of the high groundwater level. Several farmers from this area approached the Grey County Federation of Agriculture for assistance in opposing this site and help in looking for alternatives.

Murray Clark, president of the Grey Federation of Agriculture, and his Executive Board visited the location and agreed that it would be a poor choice. As Chair of the Properties Committee I was given the job to oppose this location at a hearing of the Combined OMB – Environmental Assessment Hearing at the Meaford Arena and investigate a viable alternative. I have the full report, but suffice it to say that while the Board turned down the proposed site, neither Meaford Council nor Grey County Council followed up on the alternative proposed by the Federation AND the Grey County Women’s Institute which had the potential of making the management of Municipal Solid Waste in Grey and Bruce Counties into a publicly owned profitable enterprise along the lines of a model facility in Oswego County in New York State.

The politicians of the day decided to keep responsibility for Municipal Solid Waste Management with the individual municipalities, who did not then, and do not now, have the financial capability of discharging this responsibility in a cost-effective way.

Meaford alone paid the private contractor in 2015 the amount of $1,226,727 – to dispose of MSD.

The result is what we are seeing today. Each municipality struggling with the monumental cost of private garbage disposal, with the Ministry of the Environment operating with plans that were obsolete 40 years ago.

The technologies of energy from waste with near zero emissions are well known and operating successfully in many jurisdictions. Why not in Ontario?


Karl Braeker, Meaford

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