EDITORIAL: 3 Rs message being recycled

On average, Capital Region residents generated about 38 per cent less solid waste – that’s garbage in layman’s terms – in 2009 than 20 years previous. As well, 90 per cent of households participate in the blue box program.

Cause for celebration? Sure, except when you look at what we’re still throwing into the trash.

While picking through people’s garbage for a study in 2009 and 2010, researchers found that Saanich residents threw away corrugated cardboard and organic waste, Victoria residents tossed out books, Oak Bay turfed tissue paper, paper towels, napkins and glass and Esquimalt folks binned small appliances, flyers and glass.

See a trend here? People are still not taking the time to separate items that clearly are recyclable. Does that mean people are lazy, or is more education or incentive needed for us to be more diligent? Most likely a little of each.

But it proves that while Greater Victorians have made great strides in reducing the amount of material going into the Hartland Landfill, much more can be done.

Roughly 2,000 people attended an open house at Greater Victoria’s dump last fall to get a glimpse at just what people are throwing away and how fast we’re filling up the Hartland Landfill. The CRD expects to host another open house this year to further educate people.

Some schools and businesses – including our Black Press head office on Broughton Street – have taken things a step further, becoming essentially garbage-can free.

All plastics, cardboards and compostable material have their own containers, while one central depository is available for items that simply aren’t currently recyclable.

Unsure about what can be reused? Check out www.myrecyclopedia.ca, stop by the monthly plastics recycling days in your neighbourhood or go online for a list of what disposable items your local Return-It centre will accept for free.

Don’t wait for the dump to host an open house to show an interest or take action.

Go online to www.crd.bc.ca/waste/recycle for more details on how you can make an even bigger difference.