Provide Legitimate Recycling Options for the Windsor Public
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The goal of this petition is to stop the dishonest practice of businesses in Windsor sending citizens’ recycled waste to the landfill by urging City Council to draft legislation obligating businesses, corporations, and commercial buildings to provide legitimate means of recycling for patrons and employees. This would provide individuals the option to recycle anywhere in the city, which is the least that can be asked of businesses in the area. The below provides an in-depth explanation of the need for such legislation and the positive outcomes as a result.
The majority of businesses in the Windsor area provide recycling bins, into which conscientious customers separate their recyclables. Unfortunately, the majority of this recyclable waste is sent to the landfill along with the garbage, unbeknownst to the unsuspecting citizens.
An investigation conducted by CBC two years ago found this to be an issue in Starbucks and Tim Hortons in the City of Toronto (Johnson, 2015). While many employees in the Windsor area have expressed frustration at the fact that they are instructed to send recyclables to the landfill, no changes are being made by any company who partakes in this practice. To be clear, this practice is common at other chain businesses such as Harvey’s and McDonald’s. Furthermore, employees from different Tim Hortons locations across the city have reported differing methods of waste diversion. It would appear that recycling has been implemented at some locations, but not all. Evidently, recycling is a valid option for chain businesses in the city.
According to Environment Ontario, 25% of waste in Ontario is recycled. In the City of Windsor (By-Law 2-2006), “it is the policy in Essex-Windsor to continually investigate and implement alternative ways and means of waste reduction.” Furthermore, “the Council of the Corporation of the City of Windsor recognizes the need to divert materials from the Regional Landfill Site through waste reduction, reuse and recycling.” Nevertheless, this recyclable waste is going to the landfill.
Not only is this practice bad for the environment, but it is also dishonest. Many corporations have recycling bins with signs affixed to them promoting the positive effects of waste reduction. However, these corporations are throwing all of the items inside those bins in the garbage along with the non-recyclable waste. They are not lying to the city, but rather to the citizen who takes the time to separate their waste and feels as if they have made a positive contribution.
In By-Law 2-2006, “Council deems it advisable to regulate the collection of certain classes of waste and to regulate certain other classes of waste, including recyclable material and yard waste material to be collected in the City of Windsor” (preamble). Although the city's policy is to implement means of waste reduction, recycling is treated as a suggestion, rather than as an obligation.
My suggestion is that City Council drafts legislation obligating businesses, corporations, and commercial buildings to provide legitimate means of recycling for patrons and employees. This is not even going so far as to require anyone to recycle all of their recyclables. The goal of this petition is to end the dishonest practice of sending citizens’ recycled waste to the landfill. Giving patrons the option to recycle is the least that can be done.
Critics may contend that businesses have fake recycling bins because people do not separate their waste properly. However, as By-Law 2-2006 states, the city “pursue[s] in conjunction with the Provincial Government and area Municipalities, active public education programs” to reduce waste (preamble). Grade school students are taught about recycling on a yearly basis, and schools in the city have effective recycling programs.
Furthermore, many companies claim that recycling is too expensive for them. However, the majority of businesses and corporations taking part in this dishonest act are multinational corporations such as Starbucks, Tim Hortons, and McDonald’s, to name a few. If local businesses are able to incorporate separate collection bins for recyclables, it is not too much to ask the same of these much more affluent corporations.
For any further doubts as to the necessity or enforceability of such an act, it is imperative to note that, according to the Solid Waste-Resource Management Regulation from the Statues of Nova Scotia, many recyclable materials are banned from landfills in Nova Scotia. The municipal governments are tasked with creating a program to implement these bans (1994-95). This legislation in Windsor is but the beginning of possible waste diversion reforms for the province of Ontario.
If you live in Windsor and would like to see this dishonest practice end through legislation mandating legitimate recycling options in businesses in the community, please take the time to sign this petition.
If you do not live in Windsor, you can still help! There is a good chance that your city also allows this practice of recycle-fraud. To join in, create a petition for your own city council, making sure to research the current regulations and policy in your city.
By-Law 2-2006, City of Windsor By-Laws (2006). Retrieved from the City of Windsor website: http://www.citywindsor.ca/cityhall/By-laws-Online/Documents/2-2006-GARBAGE%20BY-LAW%20-%20Consolidated%20-%20Sept.%2011,%202014.pdf;
Johnson, E. (2015, Nov 6). Tim Hortons, Starbucks knew paper cups were not recycled, employees say. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/tim-hortons-starbucks-recycling-garbage-1.3304770;
Solid Waste-Resource Management Regulations, SNS 1994-95, c. 1.
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