Trash or treasure — what goes to the landfill?

Re: Scaring up more garbage, Oct. 22, Advocate:

Re: Scaring up more garbage, Oct. 22, Advocate:

Looking at the city landfill statistics from the past 40 years, it is increasingly apparent that we are living in a consumerism/throw-away society.

A drive through any neighborhood on garbage collection day reinforces this theory, with piles of packaging and discarded items on curb after curb.

My parents were children of the Great Depression and I was raised believing you never throw anything away that has use or value, to you or to someone else, which in today’s world could be called “reduce, reuse or recycle.”

Our family recycles as much as we can, which involves frequent trips to the landfill recycle bins. This also means following truckloads of “stuff” lined up to dump into the landfill. Often the “stuff” looks very usable like tables, chairs, wrought-iron railings, wood furniture, file cabinets, bicycles, building materials, plumbing fixtures and much, much more.

Dozens of wine and beer bottles will be thrown in the glass recycle bin, just a few feet away from the Cosmos Bottle Depot bin asking people to please support them.

I am not proud to say we can be very wasteful when others among us have so little.

I lived on the West Coast for awhile and it is very common to have nice, usable “free items” on the curb or end of the driveway for anyone to take. And someone always takes them!

Cortes Island has a Free Store where you can drop off or pick up anything useful at no cost. Islanders take items there they no longer want or need and other islanders take these treasures home to use and enjoy.

The Free Store is run by volunteers and people can buy a coffee or make a cash donation that helps pay utilities, maintenance, etc.

People with extra “stuff” time and again have tried to donate it somewhere but because charities and organizations don’t want it, it is just easier and less hassle to dump it than to find a new home for it. It is a challenge to get the stuff to someone who can use it.

Years ago, people used to salvage from the dump sites and useful items were recycled. Some even made a living from it.

I am not at all suggesting that this is an option today but I am wondering if an area could be set aside at the landfill (both county and city) where people could leave useful items and others could take them home and use them?

What can we do as a community to slow down our landfill and put perfectly good items in the hands of people who can use them? Please take a minute and ask yourself: is it really trash … or treasure?

Julie McInnis

Red Deer

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