Editorial – The grand illusion

Chris Clegg

Mom takes her child down to the recycling bins on the east end of High Prairie. The family has been diligent in sorting their trash. Paper, cardboard, glass all in separate containers. As they toss the material into their separate bins, mom explains to the little girl how important recycling is to help save the Earth’s resources and the environment.
The family goes home happy they are doing their part.
But are they?
At the Town of High Prairie’s budget meeting Jan. 15, shocking details were released.
It began when Councillor James Waikle asked, “How much is recycled and how much ends up in the dump?”
Councillor Judy Stenhouse added she believed the material from the bins ends up in the Slave Lake dump and added recycling in town was a “false impression of what recycling is all about.”
Public Works Supt. Vern Walker then told council, “Glass is not being recycled.”
Later, Waikle added “glass was not recycled” when he was on council years ago. He should know. He chaired the organization looking after trash and recycling. He never told us that at the time, however.
Administration promised to look into the entire recycling issue.
And well they should!
It is not known for sure how much material is actually being recycling from the bins. We can be sure glass is not.
“The glass market is not that good,” said CAO Rod Risling. “The market has dried up.”
OK, so why did the Town of High Prairie specifically mark bins for glass recycling? By doing so, they were encouraging glass recycling when in fact glass was not being recycled. There was a clear implication to the public that glass was being recycled into useful products, not gathered up and “recycled” into a landfill.
It can be confidently stated most people do not want to pay for glass recycling if it costs them money. The Town is not to blame for not recycling glass if there is no market but it is to blame for giving a false impression to the people that glass is being recycled.
With this in mind, what does the mother tell her little girl?

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