LETTER: Recycling efforts must improve

I have read Tom Fletcher’s column on banning bags and have to say this about it.

Firstly, Germany did a great disservice to the banning of plastics with this article on Asian rivers. We all have seen what goes on in the Third World and how littered the roads and rivers are. But pointing the finger at it might make us think we are good and are doing the right thing, even feeling smug about our achievements. When I walk and look into the blue boxes or the overflowing garbage containers I don’t feel much satisfaction. People do not realize what they could actually recycle or don’t care or are too busy. Containers are often dirty; we should respect the handlers who have to sort them. A quick rinse does it.

More than 40 years ago one could already recycle in Germany. It started with paper, cans and glass. Over the years it expanded to so many things one almost needed a PhD to put the stuff into the right containers. Here are a few we still throw onto the bigger and bigger garbage heaps: Styrofoam, corks, foils, bottle crowns, batteries and plastics. Perhaps there are more they collect now in Germany.

Those are all items which could be used to make new materials, like corks for floors.

They also collect now materials from demolished buildings. It’s becoming another big business venture. Our planet gets depleted of raw materials and we should start earlier than later to reuse them.

Science is telling us that global warming is happening and we should not mock it and do everything we can to slow it down. My grandchildren should have a life as good as we have enjoyed it and not leave them with huge problems to solve, which will be very costly.

So, let’s not concentrate on shopping bags if they should be disallowed or not. Each plastic shopping bag not put out into our environment has merit. All the plastics not used in crèmes and potions are a bonus to our environment. One has to start small and the smallest effort will be beneficial if many do it and it will grow, perhaps even become a competition. Wouldn’t that be great?

Karin Hertel

Saanich

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