To the editor,
I've just finished the "Sustainable City" column "Find Me Guilty" (Tim Bousquet, March 15). Like Janet Ross, I find myself with much recycling frustration. Growing up, recycling was a part of daily life, with stories of times when everything got tossed in one place happily fading into the past.
I was pleased to find Halifax a progressive, recycler-friendly city when I arrived here five years ago. I ended up with an apartment in a large building that offered recycling and green bin facilities (the former I took for granted, the latter I was happy to find was not impossible for apartment-dwellers). After a few years of happy recycler-friendly living I needed to relocate. I moved to a 16-unit apartment building close to campus. I was stunned to find out that neither green bin nor recycling facilities were offered by the building. To me, separating the re-useable from the trash had become so second nature that this was akin to telling me that the seatbelt law had been eliminated. We know better, don't we? I contacted the HRM about the matter who promptly responded with this:
"Unfortuantely , HRM does not provide Refuse and Recycling services to apartment units bigger than 6 units. It is up to your landlord or condo corp to initiate that service through private contract."
I was dumbfounded. This city, which seemed so progressive in all things recycling, doesn't offer service to buildings over sixunits?! And with recycling facilities far out of reach of the car-less, drop-off depots make little difference. (As the email from HRM pointed out: "Unfortuantely , without a vehicle it would be very difficult for you to bring your materials to our waste and recycling facilites ," with no solutions offered.)
It all seems counterintuitive. Apartment complexes allow us to consolidate our waste into one location. Waste management crews have only one bin to empty for seven, 16 or 100 units. I wonder how many others are in this predicament. I wonder what we can do about it. For now I try to focus more on the "reduce" and "reuse" of the recycling trinity and at times I trek my blue bin material to places I know offer the service. But there are many occasions my valuable recyclables wind up in the trash. It's frustrating and depressing and makes it no surprise to me when I hear that 40 percent of dump material should have wound up elsewhere.
(P.S. I'm a student. Ms. Ross may be surprised to find some of us do "think about recycling.")
By Anna Neuheimer