It has always been a mistake not to deal with our own garbage on our own Island. And now the consequences of shipping our trash to the United States are hitting, like chickens coming home to roost, as the Canadian dollar falls.
Now that the Loonie is no longer at, or close to parity with the U.S. dollar, our out-of-country, out-of-mind philosophy is no longer working for us quite as well as it used to.
You see, our regional district has to pay those tipping fees in U.S. dollars, and the bill starts to really increase when those U.S. dollars start to cost us a lot more.
We’ve been doing pretty well in the Cowichan Valley in recent years in (finally – much of the rest of Canada was light years ahead of us) getting on board with diverting more of our waste to recycling and composting.
Curbside compost pickup programs have been very successful in places like Duncan, North Cowichan and Ladysmith (who led the way), and the Town of Lake Cowichan is starting a program too.
People are getting the hang of separating out their food scraps along with their soiled food cartons and napkins. In many areas garbage pickup is now only done once every two weeks, because these other recycling programs have cut down on what goes into the trash to such a large extent.
And we’re in favour of the idea of having a once or twice per year free pickup of such things as appliances, old furniture, wood etc. Such pickups are very successful in other areas, and even provide a sort of “free” mass yard sale for folks who cruise the piles prior to pickup and snag stuff they figure they can repair and reuse themselves.
The types of pickups can also put a nice big dent in the amount of garbage people take out into the bush and toss, littering our beautiful out-of-doors with refuse.
But that still leaves the one component we haven’t gotten a handle on – the stuff that can’t be recycled.
We must come up with a better way to deal with it, whether it’s biting the bullet and finding a spot for a landfill, or looking into incineration or other disposal methods. We create it. We can’t pretend the garbage fairies take it away. The bill’s too high.