Thursday, 2 October 2014
Recycle That — Maybe or Maybe Not
We have been back from PEI for more than a week now including a stopover in Toronto to visit Lorna’s mother. We are settling in reasonably well and accepting our life away from God’s country. Actually there are many things I am enjoying about being back. However, I wouldn’t dream of speaking for Lorna on that front—or pretty much anything else. In any case, we are back into the Parkhill routine and things have been surprisingly busy for two supposedly retired people.
I want to talk in this edition of News & Views about recycling. First let me say up front that I am a strong supporter of recycling. One of the first things that struck me about being back is the approach to recycling. I had finished a litre of milk and realized that it went into the garbage and not the recycling. I found this initially to be a bit of a guilty pleasure. However, on second thought my better nature kicked in and I realized that we here in North Middlesex and possibly much of Ontario need to go a lot further in recycling. PEI has a very elaborate system of recycling which has been a bit of a challenge for me to get the hang of. I’m sure I am not all there yet in becoming a proficient PEI recycler but I am a work in progress as with other areas of my life. Lorna on the other hand has conquered the system. Whenever she is in doubt if an item is recyclable or not she holds it up and asks me.
PEI has a very long list of things that they recycle including milk cartons. The gods of recycling in PEI fortunately provide an extensive chart listing all the things that can be recycled and how to do it. Items to be recycled are placed in blue transparent plastic bag—either bag 1 or bag 2—bag 2 being paper or cardboard or other like things and bag 1 being all other recyclables except things that have to be taken to centres for special handling. They also do a collection of compost material which includes things I would not normally associate with compost. We compost our own compostables at home so I don’t worry about that. Everything else is pure garbage. The compost and garbage are collected alternate weeks in large black (garbage) and green (compost) bins. The recyclables are collected once a month which is a bit of a problem if you forget to put them out on that day. It is a very effective and efficient system (other than the infrequency of recycling collection) and we find that we have very little that ends up as pure garbage.
The system on PEI came about through the Great Mother Necessity as space for garbage disposal and many other things is at a premium on our smallest (by far) province. As space for garbage dumps is at a premium they have had to develop a sophisticated system of recycling. It is definitely a case of making a virtue of necessity. Here in Southwestern Ontario space has not been at such a premium but we are getting to the point where we will certainly need to be more effective and can learn a lot from PEI in this regard and perhaps other areas. I recall a few years ago when there was a controversy about Toronto garbage ending up at a site near London and there was the case of Toronto gifting our neighbours to the south in the U.S. with its garbage which didn’t raise such a stink (proverbial or literal) with the good people of London.
I thought I would close on a theological point. Does God support recycling, or to put it another way, what is God’s intention in respect to recycling? I can’t know the mind of God but if you look at the world it has been created to naturally recycle everything. Scavengers often take care of dead things before they can decompose. Plants that aren’t consumed die in the fall and new life spring forth in the spring. Mother Nature is in natural balance and everything that gets used gets recycled one way or another. Some life may get out of balance sometimes but left to take their natural course the balance will be restored. This is until we humans started to use the world for our own purposes and in ways that God doesn’t necessarily intend. That is a rather idyllic view but it is a reminder that we humans have a long way to go if we are to have ‘dominion over’ the world as God intends which as its core means to protect and care for.