Everywhere I turn these days people are talking trash. The ridiculousness of it all prompted me to do my own research into the topic of garbage in Lacombe. This is some of what I’ve learned.
Our garbage is currently picked up from our neighbourhoods and driven to Prentiss Transfer Station where it is "re-handled?" This means things that shouldn’t be going out in our household trash, like furniture, or electronics, or hazardous materials, if noticed, are removed.
Then, our garbage is reloaded onto trucks and driven to Camrose, where it is apparently dumped in a lake. Well, the lake has been drained, but it was a lake at one time.
Did you know 44% of our garbage is RECYCABLE materials like cardboard, tin cans, and glass?
Did you know 29% of our garbage is COMPOSTABLE (plant waste)? Did you know that the composting of kitchen waste with lawn clippings would result in nutrient-rich, dark and healthy soil that could be used in gardens, greens spaces and yards? Did you also know healthy compost has no smell?
That leaves less than 30% of our household trash that falls into the ‘other’ materials category?
Lacombe has a 25-year contract for garbage disposal with Camrose, which expires in 2019. This means we have a handful of years to intentionally design a more sustainable way to manage our solid waste.
Most of the feedback I hear around the city is in the form of complaint. The complaints sound something like, “it will be inconvenient,” and “I’m not going to compost,” and “they want me to think about what I’m throwing out.”
Change is painful, I get that. I’d wager that more painful yet is arriving at a diseased future where those who held the responsibility in the past only ever thought about fast and convenient and what was easiest for them.
I am one who believes that we have a responsibility to live well now, but with our future citizens in mind. This might mean we have some hard decisions to make while we consciously grow up.
Look at the EcoVision Club from the Lacombe composite high school as a great example of sustainability leadership. These teenagers are not just talking about sustainability, but are living it. It must not have been easy to get that greenhouse built, but it now stands as a model of what can be accomplished when people work together for a common goal.
I look at those kids, and then my own, and think, aren’t they worth the inconvenience of learning a new way to take out the trash?
Also, as I don’t have a back alley or a dumpster – or a sidewalk for that matter, I have no choice but to use a self-contained, clean, easy-to-use, remarkably light weight, roll out bin. Yes, there’ve been a few lessons to learn along the way, but isn’t that what life’s about?
Kim Berube, Lacombe