Stratford Gazette editorial
There are questions asked that sometimes do not have an answer, and at this point, we think it’s fair to say the success of certain portions of the city’s former recycling program is one such dead-end query. The question of whether Tetra Paks, coffee cup and gabletop containers collected for years under the old contract actually made it through a recycling facility, or made it into a landfill in some other city or country, was again up for debate at Monday’s council meeting, where presentations were heard in attempt to get to the bottom of the issue.
Council heard the former contractor combined the materials with box board and shipped it off to market via a broker, which in itself is not an unusual practice. He assumed the items were being recycled in good faith. But other professionals stated when bundled in that manner, such materials are usually screened out by paper mills and end up in the dump. After an hour of discussion and back and forth, do we know definitively what happened to these materials? No, and it’s time to face the truth: We never will.
It’s evident this issue has been polarizing for council, and finally erupted into a circus this week when the city’s current recycling processor was put on the hot seat, an innocent recycling worker was interrogated as if he committed a crime, and a private businessman ended up in a heated exchange with our clearly irritated mayor. There were times decorum went out the window and emotion took the reigns, which is a rarity for this council.
The new program is expected to increase diversion and save the city money. Those who do not like it can always exercise their buying power by choosing recyclable packing at the grocery store. With the fate of the previously collected items unknown and the reasoning the current processor has for not accepting them on the table, council needs to move on to other pressing issues in the city – there’s plenty waiting to be addressed. It’s time for the recycling issue to be put out to the curb.
– Gazette staff