I think the drink deposit and recycle program in B.C. is an excellent example of a win-win scenario.
The bottles, boxes, and cans get recycled for sure, because if the owner can’t be bothered to return them, there are lots of other people who will.
Many homeless people make some cash and clean up the streets at the same time by returning found drink containers. It also keeps the containers out of the landfill. I think of these people as entrepreneurs who have the ambition and drive to go out and do something for themselves.
I also think we should expand this program to include lots of other things like paper single-use coffee cups and all glasses jars.
This would do several things. First of all, it would keep them out of the land fill, second, it would separate glass jars to be melted down and made into glass again. Evidently, jar glass is the only glass with which this can be done and right now much of it goes into the land fill.
If they had a return value to them the sorting would be done by the public, not by folks standing at a conveyor belt trying to pick them out with the risk of injury.
How many million paper coffee cups go into trash every week because they don’t get put into the recycle stream? If they were worth something I bet they would get returned. A five-cent fee to the purchaser is nothing, but to a collector with hundreds of them they are gold.
One of the reasons a lot of plastic does not get recycled is because the cost of sorting out all the different types of plastic is prohibitive, but this sorting could be done for free by the public if they had a value attached to them.
Glass jars and paper coffee cups are only the beginning. We could recycle a lot more materials with a little organization and political will.
Laurence Gill, Surrey