I remember as a child in Tokyo, our household garbage being separated into containers for kitchen scraps, paper, plastic, etc. Japan, being a small island, had no room for landfills. In high school, my teachers made us aware of environmental issues.
Quite often in public gatherings or functions, I feel sad to see garbage bins filled with plastic, paper or styrofoam plates, cups and utensils etc. It’s easy to forget about what disappears from our sight, but imagine if we piled our own garbage in our front lawns. What could that look like in one year?
Many of us heard of “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” (see YouTube ), the largest ocean garbage site in the world - twice the size of Texas! Mother Earth is essentially voiceless while carrying all life forms in our ecosystem - the four-legged, those that fly, swim or crawl, and plants humans depend on for survival. What can we do about our global pollution crisis?
We are fortunate to have the SLRD, along with the District of Lillooet, recognize these issues and build a fine local recycling facility accessible to anyone. As consumers, we can take actions to care for our environment in a variety of ways.
Here are just a few tips to organize our households or make adjustments in our daily lives to reduce the amount of our curbside garbage collection:
- Wash all recyclable items well with warm soapy water to avoid contamination.
- Label recycle containers accordingly - paper only, soft plastic, hard plastic, glass, styrofoam or tin cans, etc.
- Involve children and family so household members can all contribute to recycling.
- Consider how items are packaged in stores: “Do we need this?” “Is the packaging excessive, is it recyclable?” etc.
- Using bar soap and bar shampoo instead of ones in bottles.
- Bring your own bottle/coffee mug, utensils or chopsticks.
- Reuse plastic bags and bring your own totes when shopping
- Rinse and reuse or recycle take out containers.
* Refuse a plastic bag if you can carry something out of the store.
* Create giftwrap with a cloth bag or a scarf and tie them with a ribbon.
During the holidays, most material goods are purchased along with volumes of giftwrap disposed into trash. How can we have a greener Christmas?
It is inspiring to see so many local artisans creating a variety of gift items at our local Crafts Fairs. In some larger cities, recycling is mandatory; citizens are fined should they dispose of food waste or any recyclables in the garbage. But why wait for a municipal bylaw?
Even if we recycled and reduced trash, we still have the bigger issue of how to deal with all the trash accumulated over the past century plus how to stop producing new garbage.
We need to do both so our future generations might have a chance. Change starts in our awareness. Change starts in our homes. Nature gives to us unconditionally. It is time we give back.