Recycling

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In Canada, we have two kinds of recycling processes. The first way is with the recycling bins.The way to recycle depend on the juridiction that you live in. By example, in Quebec, the population can recycle plastic #1 to #7. But in Ontario, the population can only recycle plastic #1 and #2.
The second way is the container return program (consignation). It is the action of returning used bottles and cans to retailers.In other words, customers pay a deposit on containers. They will receive a full refund on their deposit when they return the empty containers to any return location. Unfortunately, this process it is not the same in every provinces and territories. For example, in Quebec, this program is running since 1996. It includes beer and soft drink cans but exclude bottles of wine. In Ontario, this program was kicked off last February. It is included beer and wine containers but not the soft drink containers.
The website (in french only) http://www.recyc-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/client/fr/accueil.asp is a good example of a proactive jurisdiction (Quebec) regarding sustainable development. but we have to have a more consolidated approach and our Federal Government is the party who can play that role. The whole population has to work in the same direction regarding recycling because our resources are limited and the Canadian population must participate at the same level with no regard where they live. The Federal Government has to find a way to consolidate best practices in all juridisction to do a national plan to save our resources for the next generations. For the moment, the Federal Government only promotes and provides information to the population about the importance of recycling.
If the Federal Government is proactive in this matter, I think Canada can become a leader and can be used has a model for other countries. We have good initiatives but they are too local. For the future, Canada has to reduce even more their waste. I think the next step could be a national program to recycle food waste (composting). Canada, with those programs, would be able to teach best practices to industrialized countries where recycling is less prevalent.
I would like to know how recycling is working in your country…thank you in advance for your input!

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Posted in government policy, sustainable living
3 comments on “Recycling
  1. jeremy says:

    It is interesting that you note Canada is good at taking initiatives locally, while its record on a national scale is less impressive. This is my observation also and I would also draw parallels with Australia. This country too has some very good initiatives at grass roots level but ‘the Feds’ get the country a bad name as they focus more on macroeconomic growth at all costs. Unfortunately, they can get away with this because that is their ‘brief’ as it were, while the states and the local councils focus on some of the issues you describe here. There is certainly a disconnect, and I think it is a function of the federal system of government. The Irish don’t seem to have this problem do they!?

  2. genevieve says:

    Canadian citizens have more access to recycling (http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/070713/d070713a.htm) in 2006 than in 1996 (19% up to 27%). It is interesting to see in this article that families with lower revenue have less access to recycling than those with higher revenue (see “Factors affecting access to programs » section) . This means that, as citizens, we have to encourage equal access to recycling within our city/region. This also reinforces Pascal idea of a federal intervention so that local authorities could at least have a benchmark to compare their politics to. It is also interesting to see that detached home residents have more access to recycling program considering that one stop from the city trucks at an apartment building would pick up more recycling products for the same amount of money (number of trucks + stops + fuel +…).
    Other aspects that Canadians have to improve are the two others R’s: reducing (http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/051202/d051202b.htm) and reutilizing. Recycling is a first step but if consumption level raises faster than recycling, the good effect of recycling is neutralized by bad effects coming from consumption.

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