Wasted Again!

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Spring is here, the snowbanks have melted away, and we see the emerging detritus along the sides of the roads and hiking trails. It’s time for the annual litterbug-chiding.

Each municipality has a waste management committee, and they are meeting to consider what to do with waste materials collected at the transfer stations. So far, hauling it to La chute for landfilling is the active plan. That’s subject to improvement, as we learn of new ways to divert and to reduce the transport of those materials.

Municipal crews can’t deal with the litter that inconsiderate people toss along the roadside. I sometimes go for a hike and take along a plastic bag to collect cans, bottles, face masks, etc. that are casually tossed by the unfortunate few who haven’t the strength to take their trash to a collection site or add it to their household garbage. But it cuts my hike short and annoys me to have to do that. Do you think that a littered pathway is enjoyable to see? I know I’m not the only one who picks up litterbugs, but there’s always more.

Those energy drinks aren’t working, if people don’t have the energy to look after their own empty cans and bottles.

And what’s the deal with dog poop tied up in a plastic bag? Yes, it’s kind of you dog walkers to pick it up from the pathway, but just toss it into the weeds, where nobody is likely to be walking. Dog poop will disintegrate and be composted very quickly, if it’s left in the wild. Wrapped up and tied in a plastic bag, it waits until someone gets tired of seeing it, and picks it up. We’re not supposed to include organic material in the household trash, and besides, it’s no fun to open someone else’s poop baggy and find a place to dispose of it.

On the positive side, there’s a new technology that has the potential to deconstruct persistent plastics, which means those materials can be recycled at low temperatures to be like virgin plastic material again.

Of course, this new process is not in widespread use yet, but the promise is there, to turn the tide of enormous plastic pollution, and actually recycle that material.

Robert Wills
Shawville and Thorne