Recycling in the Madawaska Valley Township

BARRY’S BAY – On paper, the recycling program in our municipality is set up in a way that makes sense to most people: either separate your containers and paper, or pay a little bit more out of pocket because you are using more garbage tags.

Nobody likes litter. And it is obvious to most people that it is better to re-melt plastic, aluminum and glass than it is to make more. Recycling releases less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and it uses up material that would otherwise pile up in landfills. You do not have to be a hard-core environmentalist to buy in to a certain amount of the recycling mentality, and most municipalities are not run by fanatical environmentalists.

But that does not mean that everything municipalities do is carefully thought-out and brings about the results that rate-payers are expecting. Every now and again things come to the public’s attention that surprised them. One recent example of this was the dumping of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence by Montreal and other municipalities. Another example concerned the shipping of waste from Vancouver to Manila in 2013 to 2014. A diplomatic row erupted between Canada and the Philippines when it was discovered that, rather than containing recyclable plastics, as was intended, the 103 shipping containers from Vancouver were discovered to contain unsorted garbage.

How such things happen, how often, and why, are matters about which the majority of us are unaware. But we trust that there are good reasons when such things happen because, after all, nobody likes pollution, right?

That the mayor and councillors of the Madawaska Valley Township would want more pollution and garbage around is a ludicrous notion. But do they, do we, know whether or not we are doing things the best way?