Letter: New West is deliberately making it more difficult to recycle glass


Re: Too much hyperbole in the recycling depot debate, Record, June 13

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I found the tone of this editorial somewhat condescending. The "inconvenience" the writer dismisses is based on the assumption that everyone in New Westminster has access to a car to transport their recyclables and it ignores a bigger, ethical picture - that of environmental responsibility - which the city began abdicating a few years ago when it decided to make glass recycling more difficult for residents of New Westminster.

Studies show that when recycling is made easier there is a greater level of compliance. This is precisely why cities and towns across the world have opted for doorstep blue bin recycling and now composting programs in the first place. 

A few years ago, the city decided to remove glass from the curbside recycling program, for perfectly valid safety reasons, but did not provide a genuine substitute. There are no separate bins for glass collection in curbside programs (unlike other jurisdictions). Grocery stores don't mind selling us pickles in glass jars, but even they don't provide in-store recycling bins for these jars. This means if you don't live in the vicinity of the current recycling depot and you don't own a car, you have to get on a bus with all your recyclables to travel to the depot. Now we're being told that we have to travel to Coquitlam.

Not everyone in New Westminster drives. For many people, our decision to move into the downtown/uptown neighbourhoods was based on their walkability and access to transit. I don't own a car because, to get around my hometown, I don't need one. But now, apparently, I do just so I can recycle responsibly. 

I predict that a lot of recyclables will end up in dumpsters and refuse bins because residents won't bother to or won't be able to make the drive.

The mixed messaging in this is frankly astonishing. There are campaigns all around encouraging us to reduce plastic, but the City of New Westminster is deliberately making it more difficult to recycle glass. We are being encouraged to cut CO2 emissions, but now I'm expected to transport my glass to Coquitlam to recycle it. We live in a time of environmental peril and the City is abdicating its responsibility. Council seriously needs to rethink this proposal. I certainly will be rethinking my vote come next election. I won't vote for anyone who is not taking environmental responsibility seriously.

Lindsey bat Joseph, New Westminster


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