Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Futility of Recycling

Apparently Michigan was getting fed up of dealing with our stinky Toronto garbage, or else our rotting heaps were getting too hefty to haul all the way to Michigan, but either way, the powers that be decided that they were spending too much money on stuff we don't even want anymore.

This sparked a renewed recycling initiative in the GTA. To reduce the amount of waste we threw to the curb, the city implemented a compost program in addition to the recycling program. To discourage us from cheating, they limited garbage pick-up to one bag per household every 2 weeks. Now, normally I wouldn't mind. I have always been a first-rate recycler. So every day Jason asks me "what is this?" and I tell him which box to put it in - brown, green, or blue. The rules are impossibly complicated, and the garbage men are finicky. If you don't tape up your cardboard in just such a way, then their superior garbage morality prohibits them from taking it. The grocery stores around here sell special bags for your compost, made of supposedly special plastic that looks the same but certainly costs more, but you don't have to use them, and in fact if you have more compost than fits in your compost bin, then you must put the additional stuff in clear plastic bags, while the green compost bags that you paid extravagant amounts for are of no use.

Still, we persevere. Jason hasn't caught on, of course. He doesn't know where coffee grinds go, and it doesn't make sense to him that a foil plate is recyclable while tin foil is not. It doesn't make much sense to me either, but luckily I have a knack for remembering senseless things.

Our upstairs neighbours, however, are hostile to the idea. If we don't fill our compost bin to the top, then they see this as an invitation to load it up with their own garbage. In fact, on a few occasions, we've caught them putting our compost in our garbage, and putting their garbage in our compost. That is, until one of other neighbours stole our compost bin, because these things cost money to replace you know, and obviously the city thinks that even though they've imposed on our very lifestyles just to do this crazy thing that is useless anyway when your neighbours are insane, but they think we the taxpayers should continue to pay out of pocket for the privilege of sorting through our own trash.

Now, I could deal with all of that, if it wasn't for this:

Do you know what they do with my recyclables? The cardboard, which I have lovingly collected, grudgingly sorted and assembled, and crankily tied up with tape or string, is taken away, reverted to pulp, and sold away so it can be turned into a recycled paper product.

My plastics are melted down and made into new plastics.

My compostables, which include very personal things like tissues, dirty diapers, and nail clippings, are piled into a dung heap where they eventually become fertilizer.

The city makes money on converting my trash, and then it sells it back to me AT FULL PRICE. I am paying money for the pleasure of re-receiving my own garbage. I think we citizens should be charging them to come get our valuable shitty diapers and half-eating apples. This stuff is pure gold, baby, and we're giving it away! And even worse, we're buying it back! And we don't even get a price break!

If this is not the definition of pure insanity, then I don't know what is. Citizens, it is time to take back our refuse! Demand a fair price for the goldmines in our glad bags. For years they have pretended that garbage pick-up was a favour bestowed upon the taxpayers, but now we know the truth! Garbage is a booming economy, and we're giving away our stocks for free! We are the shareholders of our own slop. Unite, fellow garbage producers, and make your garbage work for you.

And remember: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - MY ASS!

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