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Letter: What’s the difference between tomatoes and tomato juice?

Beer cans
Beer cans

When your town is heavily involved in recycling, it is huge.

Five years ago, the town of Cape St. George bought itself a recycling truck and started one of the few recycling programs in a small town. The truck picked up deposit paid pop cans, juice cartons and other containers covered under the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) beverage container recycling program. They were stored until a full truckload accumulated and then were shipped off to the Scotia Recycling depot in Stephenville. The recyclables were turned in under the name of the two schools in the town, and the rebate was doubled. Over the last five years approximately $10,000 was paid to the schools, enough to fund their lunch and breakfast programs.

But when it came to glass containers and tin cans, the program broke down. If the glass jars and tin cans had contained a beverage, they were recycled, but if they had not they could not.

Which led to the problem of having a tin can that had tomato juice in it recyclable, but not ones with tomatoes in them. (By the way, we do recycle tin cans by putting them in scrapped cars before they are crushed to go to the steel mill).

Milk containers were also not recyclable. When asked at a Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador meeting why that was so, the unhappy representative of the MMSB said it was because milk was a food and not a beverage.

Duh.

This person should apply to work for Donald Trump in explaining the inexplicable.

The beverage recycling program was a good idea, but surely in the decades since it was enacted we have moved on to a greater awareness of our environment and we should clearly be recycling glass and tin containers as well.

And it would not be unpopular to do so.

The most popular program in our town is the recycling program. Even more satisfying is the attitude of people in neighbouring communities that openly admire our program and wish their own towns could do the same. In the past five years we have won four national and provincial awards for our program.

So it is time for the province to move forward and expand the beverage container recycling program to cover all containers, such as tin cans and glass containers.

With the cost of tipping fees to dispose of these items in landfills rising steadily, everything we can divert is both economically and financially justified.

Peter Fenwick, mayor
Cape St. George

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