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Charbonneau: Recycling is broken

May 2, 2019

IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME: throw away stuff guilt-free because others can use it. Now it looks more like wishful thinking. Manufacturers encouraged the scheme because they wouldn’t have to deal with the mess caused by excess packaging.

We, the conscientious consumers would be left to handle the flood of plastic, glass, tins and cardboard.

We rose to the challenge, earnestly sorting our trash. If each of us would just recycle, we could lick this problem. In doing so, we let manufacturers off the hook. It’s a familiar shift of responsibility to consumers. If each of us drive smaller cars and turn off the lights we can reduce global warming.

The failure of the recycling program is becoming painfully evident. Canada is faced with lecturing from thuggish Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who is threatening war on Canada if we don’t take back tonnes of Canadian trash that have been rotting in a port near Manila.

It’s a national embarrassment. More than 100 shipping containers were sent from Canada to Manila six years ago. They were labelled plastics but they turned out to be garden-variety, stinking Canadian garbage including soiled adult diapers. Canada is in violation of international treaties that prohibit exportation of mislabelled containers.

More and more majority world countries are turning their noses up at our trash. China doesn’t want it either. In 2017, China announced that didn’t want any “foreign garbage”. Without China as a dumping ground, stuff is piling up around the world with nowhere to go except monstrous ocean gyres, landfills and incinerators.

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