When it comes to garbage there is public sentiment to reduce flows to landfills.
That said, our collective lifestyle seems to run counter to any desire to reduce the amount of garbage which amasses in any household these days.
Our society has seemed to have evolved into what can best be described as a ‘use and toss’ one.
Where once we had tradesmen who fixed everything from televisions to blenders, VCRs and wristwatches.
While there are those who still ply such trades, the computer technology within modest modern appliances and conveniences makes repair difficult, with labour and parts costing more than something used is worth.
We also like our food quick and easy these days. We often pass by the fresh produce aisles in favour of something ready in the microwave in a matter of minutes.
But with that convenience comes a vacuum-sealed package, often inside a box, both which end up in the weekly garbage bag.
Everything we consume, from the food we eat, to the toys we buy for our children, to household toiletries, comes highly packaged and usually finds its way to local landfills.
There have been efforts to reduce packaging in some sectors, a system of refillable containers for household soaps comes to mind, but for the most part those have limited impact.
We are still as likely as ever to put corn on the cob, an item sold wrapped by nature, into a plastic bag in the produce department, then slip that bag inside our main grocery bag at the till.
So the pressure on landfills grows.
In Yorkton, the growing population, and our basic disposable nature, has combined with the pressures of serving an ever larger area to the point a landfill expansion is imminent. Plans are already beginning which will grow the current facility in a way to meet future demands as well as more stringent provincial regulations.
The expansion will be required even as there is an established goal to reduce the flow of garbage going into the landfill to zero by 2030.
It is an ambitious goal, one which given the deadline only seven years away, will be difficult to achieve.
But it is still worth pursuing.
It is not that there is an expectation garbage will disappear, but rather that there should be viable ways to recycle, and reuse much of what we now toss.
We have managed to get people on-side with the idea of putting recyclable items into curb-side blue boxes for pick-up, and many of us are now ardent paper and cardboard recyclers.
Those efforts must be expanded to a wider range of products if the City is to hit its mark.
That will mean citizens and the City being ready to embrace new ideas, whether it’s composting waste from canola plants (see related story this issue), or capturing methane from garbage, or generating energy through pyrolic processes.
Yorkton has already shown a willingness to be forward looking in terms of recycling, and if that trend continues some good can be gained from that which our disposable society tosses.