Editorial: Garbage cans are overfilled

Waste Reduction Week in Canada begins Monday (Oct. 20) and many cities, including Nanaimo, are observing the occasion.

The people of Nanaimo spoke, and decided they didn’t want an incinerator here. That’s all well and good, but it begs the question: what do we do with our waste?

Waste Reduction Week in Canada begins Monday (Oct. 20) and many cities, including Nanaimo, are observing the occasion, as well as other levels of government, schools, businesses and individuals.

The City of Nanaimo is promoting a Zero Waste Challenge, which aims to inspire residents to ‘slim their bin’ by throwing away less. It involves picking through our trash cans and weighing our waste, and it’s understandable if some people don’t want to get down and dirty to deal with our garbage problem. But even for those who aren’t inclined to examine their trash bags, it’s worth thinking about the issue rather than just leaving it until it starts to stink.

According to the municipality’s estimate, Nanaimo residents currently divert 63 per cent of waste away from the landfill. It’s an admirable achievement, but the city thinks the figure could be closer to 80 per cent if the curbside program was used to its fullest, or 90 per cent if residents make trips to the recycling depot, too.

Across B.C., we send an average of 600 kilograms a year to landfills and we do it without really thinking about it. Waste Reduction Week and the Zero Waste Challenge are intended to make us think twice before we overstuff our garbage bags.

There are a lot of us who set out to make the world a better place, in our own ways, whatever those may be. Failing that, we can at least try not to make the world much worse.

We hope some Nanaimoites find some creative ways to observe Waste Reduction Week. We hope some people do work toward zero waste. Most of all, we just hope that people care.