Letter to the Editor: Leave it on your curb

Dear Editor,

Recently, the Flin Flon and District Environmental Council announced that the curbside pick up of recyclables may come to an end at the end of this year because the service is not being used. This would be a backward step for our community.

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Flin Flon has red bag pickup. If you put out a red bag, you may also put out two blue bags and as much cardboard as you like. Red bags are $3.50 each. I usually put out my recycling twice a month, meaning I pay $7.00 a month for the service. If I drove to the centre twice a month, it would cost almost as much for gas.

Recycling is easy once you get in the habit of doing it. In my kitchen, across from my garbage can, I have two recycling bags. In one, I put my paper and in the other, cans, bottles and plastic containers. It is my choice to do it that way. Sorting things is not a requirement. It is just as easy to throw something in a blue or red bag than into a garbage bag. When I have filled two blue bags and one red, I put them out on the curb for a Wednesday pickup. What can be easier?

 I don’t have to make a special trip to drop off recycling or get out in my car only to remember my recyclables are still sitting at home.

Some say they want to cart their stuff to either the recycling centre or the bins at Walmart. That is their choice. For me, that is just another task to add to my busy schedule. I know I go to Walmart at least once a week, but will I always remember to take my recyclables? Sometimes I even forget to take my shopping bags. I like the big blue bags that hold lots - now I just take them from the bin on my back deck and drag them to the curb. I’m not as strong as I once was and lifting heavier bags even beyond waist level to throw them in a bin is hard on the back and arm muscles. Putting stuff in smaller bags seems a bit counterproductive and I would have to put more plastic bags into the environment. Using cardboard boxes might be more environmentally friendly, but they are no easier to transport

I am more physically able than some seniors. What of those who are handicapped or perhaps don’ t own a car? It is not fair to assume they can probably find someone to drop off recyclables. We want to encourage more recycling not add deterrents. I hope those who use curbside recycling won’t stop recycling if we do lose the pickup.

I have heard some argue against the value of curbside, but their arguments seem weak and sometimes lack real information. Some claim it is unfair that we have to pay anything extra for recycling, because in Winnipeg all you have to do is leave your blue bag at the curb and it is picked up with no need of a red bag that you pay extra for.

Winnipeg is not Flin Flon.

In some cities, a levy is placed on all citizens to offset the costs. Some places also use a tag system. You are allowed only so many tags for garbage bags and if you put out extra, you have to pay for them. That cuts down on garbage and encourages recycling. I know our city does contribute some money for the recycling program but our city council did not favour a levy on every household. Why? People were upset because they didn’t want to pay for a service they didn’t use.

Others complain that we don’t give refunds in Manitoba and say they save their bottles for a visit to Prince Albert or Saskatoon. That is more effort than I am ready to make and besides, it is a little unethical. Saskatchewan has a higher levy on beverage containers than Manitoba and that levy is refunded if you take these to a recycling depot. Using the excuse that you are saving recyclables for a trip to Saskatoon is a weak argument for not recycling. There is nothing else that you can claim a refund for. All your other recyclables can be left on the curb.

Once you lose something, it is hard to get it back. Home mail delivery was retained after the 2015 election, but it was not restored in areas that had already lost it. We should not assume that if we lose our curbside recycling, it will be restored anytime soon.

Please support curbside recycling. You can pick up red bags at the Recycling Centre or at several retail outlets in town. It just takes a moment to put stuff in recycling bags. (You throw it in a garbage bag anyway.) When you have one red bag and two blue ones filled, put them on your front curb Tuesday night. Nothing can be easier.

You will be supporting curbside recycling which is an inexpensive community service we do not want to lose.

Harry Hobbs

Flin Flon

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