Editorial: Let’s improve our recycling

Much of the success or failure of the system depends on individual households.

The City of Nanaimo is trying to reinforce recycling rules.

British Columbia moved to a broad Multi-Material B.C. curbside recycling program last year, but ultimately, much of the success or failure of the system depends on individual households.

According to Multi-Material B.C., residents’ efforts leave room for improvement. The organization suggests that Nanaimo’s contamination rate in recycling bins is 5.1 per cent, above the maximum allowable three per cent. As it turns out, Multi-Material B.C. is empowered to fine municipalities for non-compliance.

Contamination isn’t as yucky as it sounds. What it means, mostly, is that residents are throwing plastic shopping bags into the recycling bin, along with other verboten items like glass jars and styrofoam trays that need to be taken to the recycling depot.

When the recycling rules change, as they did last year, there’s bound to be some confusion and it’s no wonder that residents might need a reminder now and again.

We think that Nanaimoites, on the whole, have a desire to be leaders when it comes to recycling and waste diversion. Throwing out recyclable material is – and should be – an anachronism nowadays, when we know better.

It isn’t a hardship for most of us; rather, it’s probably among our easier household chores. Certain supermarkets will recycle our old shopping bags, if we will just make the effort to throw them in the bin there.

Christmas, now just around the corner, is an occasion that will call for some care. Of course we should go ahead and cheerily tear non-recyclable wrapping paper from our overpackaged consumer goods on Christmas morning. But at the same time, perhaps we who are so fortunate can keep our community cleaner and our bins free of contamination.

We’ll be running errands all month long, after all. What’s one more trip to the recycling depot?

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