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LETTER: Citizen trashes the concept of recycling

Household recycling programs are not accomplishing much, says letter writer

OrilliaMatters received the following letter from Dave Hoogendyke, who believes most people don't realize that recycling is not accomplishing much.

I am finding myself, more and more, questioning the actual impact on the environment of most recycling, especially household recycling programs.

I have asked some municipalities on matters like what happens to unwashed food containers, and was dismayed at the answer. Most or all unwashed food containers go in to the dump because they pose a health risk to the workers at the recycling plants due to attracting vermin etc.

So unless we waste good drinking water to wash all of these containers, putting them in the blue bin is a waste of time.

And because most paper must be totally uncontaminated by things such as coffee stains and other food contact, it, too, goes into the dump. If most paper wasn't bleached, this wouldn't be an issue, but because we have to have bright white toilet paper to do our business, it is. Imagine how much bleach is used each year just in Canada just to have white paper to write on.

Besides these obvious detractions from recycling, the mere nature of the recycling process means we use huge amounts of limited resources like good drinking water twice: once to make the original product, and then again to re-purpose it. Not to mention electricity or fossil fuels used in both processes.

More consumer packaging must be made out of glass, which is inert, and can be smashed up and reduced in mass, making more room in the dump, or have a deposit on most glass containers making them returnable, and giving the item monetary value. We need more fibre packaging like bamboo or hemp to make plastic less and less needed.

Not all garbage is toxic or a threat to nature, and dumps are unavoidable, so more old-fashioned materials should be re-introduced and newer ones like plastics banned.

We just have to look to history for ways to solve our troubles today, and apply innovative ideas to old ones to deal with waste, not something as slightly mis-directed as recycling. Recycling just perpetuates the manufacture of environmentally destructive materials such as all plastics.

There is no hope for the future of all life on earth without properly informing people that, in my opinion, most home and industrial recycling is not helping like people think it is.

Dave Hoogendyke