Curbing it in Carbonear
For too long, recycling and the environment was not a priority in Newfoundland and Labrador, largely because of this province’s scattered population and struggling economy. It’s encouraging to see this is slowly changing, though we still have a long way to go.
The latest step in the right direction came to us last week from the Town of Carbonear.
Starting next spring, it will be mandatory for homeowners in the town to separate recyclables from their regular household garbage. It’s all part of a new curbside recycling program that will begin May 1. The initiative will put Carbonear at the forefront in the Trinity-conception region in efforts to reduce the amount of trash being dumped at the regional waste facility at Robin Hood Bay in St. John’s.
Other towns, including Bay Roberts, have been talking about introducing a similar program, but so far that’s all it is.
Some have questioned the viability of curbside recycling, but the numbers speak for themselves. It costs more than $ 65 in tipping fees to bring a tonne of garbage to Robin Hood Bay. The cost for recyclables is $20. For a town the size of Carbonear, tipping fees can add up to a substantial bill for taxpayers. It only makes sense to divert as much tonnage as possible from the dump, and we tip our hats to municipal leaders in Carbonear for having the courage to take the plunge.
But it won’t work unless the town takes an aggressive approach to its marketing and enforcement, ensuring that citizens are educated on the dos and don’ts and the benefits of recycling. The City of St. John’s had its problems when it introduced curbside recycling last fall, and we’re sure there will be hurdles in Carbonear.
But residents must support the concept because it’s in their best interest, for a number of reasons, and not just the town’s bottom line.
First of all, the practices of the past cannot be tolerated today. It’s imperative that we adjust our habits and thinking when it comes to the environment. We are the caretakers of this planet for future generations, and it’s our job to keep it pristine and livable and protected from the hazardous and irresponsible practices of the past.
It’s time that we start catching up to the standards being set by other provinces in Canada, and we can no longer ignore the impending threats of climate change. We all have a moral duty to respect and protect this land.
We live in one of the most rugged, scenic and welcoming places on the planet, and we should show our gratitude by acting responsibly. We can still enjoy vast stretches of wilderness, which is home to a diverse collection of plants and animals. Our cold, clean oceans are still a marketing tool for fish companies, and outdoor enthusiasts from throughout the continent continue to come here for the hunting, fishing and other forms of recreation.
But too many of us continue to use our backroads and pits as a dumping ground for construction material and other garbage. It must be stopped. It’s no stretch to say that for generations, this province’s waste management practices have been shameful and crude.
Not long ago, this province had 240 landfills, most of which were very crude “dumps” where anything and everything, including hazardous waste, was discarded without a second thought. That number has been reduced dramatically in recent years as we make the transition to regional “super dumps” and a small number of landfills.
It’s part of an effort to cut in half the amount of garbage going into landfills by 2020.
It appears the Town of Carbonear will soon be playing a valuable role in reaching that goal. That’s a good thing.