Letter to the editor 3, June 20, 2019
Backed into a corner
While driving into work the other morning, I saw a gentleman on a bicycle toting three large, clear plastic bags filled with aluminum soda cans. He's been a fixture in our area for years, scouring parks and green spaces for tossed aluminum cans, obviously quite successfully.
My son works at an area grocery store and can attest to this fellow's regular visits for monetary redemption.
I don't begrudge this man's daily activities – in fact I applaud them. He's helping the environment, both by cycling and cleaning up our neighbourhood. But I must question why so many people are willing to toss aluminum cans rather than redeem them for their deposit.
Granted, $.05 may not be worth someone's time. But multiplied by three large bags full a few times a week, those nickels start to add up.
The fact that we still live with the mindset that it's acceptable to toss an aluminum can rather than bother to redeem or recycle it is indicative of our attitude towards environmental issues in general.
First China began to refuse our 'recycling,' then the Philippines, and now Malaysia.
Maybe we need to actually be swimming in our own garbage before we wake up to the reality that we can't keep blindly consuming and tossing to meet our immediate needs without giving it a second thought.
Perhaps we'll look back one day and realize these countries have unwittingly done us a favour by backing us into a corner.